U.S. Senator Margaret Hassan has requested that government agencies take “additional targeted steps to prevent and prosecute the use of cryptocurrency for criminal purposes.” She expressed her concern over “the rise in the use of cryptocurrency for criminal purposes.”
US Senator Requests Agencies Take Steps to Prevent and Prosecute Use of Crypto for Criminal Purposes
U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan wrote a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland expressing her concern about the criminal use of cryptocurrencies Thursday. Garland is the 86th U.S. attorney general, the nation’s chief law enforcement officer who leads the Department of Justice (DOJ). Senator Hasan wrote:
I write to express my concern over the rise in the use of cryptocurrency for criminal purposes, and request that your agencies take additional targeted steps to prevent and prosecute the use of cryptocurrency for criminal purposes.
The letter was also forwarded to Alejandro Mayorkas, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS); Charles Rettig, commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS); Gary Gensler, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC); and Himamauli Das, acting director of the Financial Crime Enforcement Network (FinCEN).
In her letter, Hassan brought up that the town of Peterborough in New Hampshire suffered a cyberattack last month and $2.3 million in taxpayer dollars were stolen, noting that most of the funds were converted into cryptocurrencies.
The senator from New Hampshire asserted:
The anonymity provided by cryptocurrency has helped facilitate its use by criminals in a myriad of ways. These uses include drug sales over the dark web, payments for ransomware attacks, tax evasion, financing for terrorism and organized crime, money laundering, and more.
She then pointed out that decentralized cryptocurrency exchanges have less strict know-your-customer (KYC) requirements than centralized ones, emphasizing that “some have no KYC requirements at all.” The senator then referred to “Recent studies [which] have found that many exchanges, both centralized and decentralized, have weak KYC requirements.”
Hassan opined: “It is clear that more robust KYC requirements for cryptocurrency exchanges, cryptocurrency kiosks, and OTC cryptocurrency trading desks could improve transparency in the U.S. and global cryptocurrency markets, and lead other countries to follow our lead in requiring KYC information for users on these services.” She elaborated:
This in turn could prevent illicit use of this novel financial technology while allowing the legitimate use of cryptocurrencies to flourish as a whole.
The senator concluded her letter by asking the attorney general eight questions, many of which were about additional authority needed to regulate cryptocurrency trading.
She also asked whether “additional civil or criminal penalties” would aid the agencies’ “efforts to prevent and prosecute the criminal use of cryptocurrency.”
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