U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren has called on Congress to ensure regulators, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), have the tools to regulate the crypto industry effectively and crack down on crypto money laundering activities. “The current legal structure essentially holds up a giant sign over crypto that says, money laundering done here,” the lawmaker stressed.
Senator Urges Congress to Crack Down on Crypto Money Laundering
U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) said in an interview with Politico’s Morning Money Wednesday that cracking down on money laundering activities is her “main focus” in terms of crypto-related legislation.
The senator confirmed that she will reintroduce her bill titled “Digital Asset Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2022.” Originally introduced in December last year, this bill is “the most direct attack” on the personal freedom and privacy of crypto users, according to experts in the field.
Warren explained that money laundering is “not nearly as visible to the public” as fraud. “It occurs in the darkest shadows of the crypto world, but its impact on our national security and law enforcement is immense. … The current legal structure essentially holds up a giant sign over crypto that says, money laundering done here,” the senator described, elaborating:
This is not about inventing any new form of anti-money laundering rules. This is about applying exactly the same set of rules that apply across every other financial industry.
The chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Gary Gensler, has also said that crypto should be treated the same as other capital markets.
Senator Warren Wants Congress to Empower Regulators to Be Effective ‘Cop on the Beat’
“There are two very different kinds of crypto problems,” Warren continued, noting that “one is consumer fraud.” The senator stressed: “That’s what we’ve seen when FTX and other exchanges collapsed. It’s part of the pump and dump and rug pulls, and all the other ways that customers get cheated.” Emphasizing that both Congress and regulators need to take action, she detailed:
There are a lot of regulatory tools out there already to deal with that. We need regulators to use those tools, and Congress needs to make sure that those regulators have the resources they need to be an effective cop on the beat.
SEC Chair Gensler has often said that the securities regulator “will serve as the cop of the beat” and bring enforcement actions against uncompliant crypto firms. Senator Warren has been pushing for the SEC to impose tougher rules on the crypto sector and use its full authority to regulate crypto trading.
Warren has long been a crypto skeptic. She has warned about “a run on crypto” that may need a federal bailout and has repeatedly raised concerns about the environmental impact of bitcoin mining. She wants Congress and the Treasury to urgently adopt a policy to mitigate crypto risks. Following the collapse of crypto exchange FTX, she also urged Fidelity Investments to stop offering bitcoin as an option in 401(k) retirement accounts.