Home Blockchain Elizabeth Warren Criticizes Crypto, Says It Threatens U.S. Security

Elizabeth Warren Criticizes Crypto, Says It Threatens U.S. Security

Elizabeth Warren Criticizes Crypto, Says It Threatens U.S. Security

Julia Smith

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| 2 min read

Cryptocurrency coin in the foreground against a blurred United States Capitol building backdrop, representing the political tension as Elizabeth Warren criticizes crypto for enabling 'pig butchering' scams and North Korea's threatening activities.

Elizabeth Warren criticizes crypto, citing its role in North Korea’s missile funding and “pig butchering” scams. Image by Julia Smith, Midjourney.

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) criticized North Korea’s crypto usage and the rise of crypto “pig butchering” scams at a Thursday hearing of the Senate of Armed Services, claiming that cryptocurrency as a whole poses “a threat to our national security.”

Senator Elizabeth Warren Blasts Crypto, Calls Out North Korea

Questioning Admiral John C. Aquilino of the United States Indo-Pacific Command, Warren alleged that North Korea could pay for over 56 intercontinental ballistic missiles with the $1.7 billion worth of crypto the country stole in 2022.

When asked by Warren if the number surprised him, Aquilino confessed it did not. 

North Korea has long been known for its crypto malware groups, with state-sponsored hacking collective the Lazarus Group and crypto mixer Sinbad sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) in November 2023 for illicit activities.

“(Crypto) is helping rogue states,” said Warren. “It’s helping terrorists. It’s helping criminal organizations fund their operations on a scale like we have never seen before.”

However, blockchain intelligence firm Chainalysis’ 2024 Crypto Crime Report found that funds sent to crypto mixers from illicit addresses decreased by nearly half a billion dollars last year “likely due to law enforcement and regulatory efforts.”

Senate Hearing Address Pig Butchering Scams And More

Warren’s criticism of crypto did not stop with North Korea, however. In her testimony Thursday, the senator claimed that “more than 40,000 people in the United States lost more than $3.5 billion dollars in pig butchering crypto scams that we know of” in last year alone.

Common across southeast Asia, “pig butchering” involves perpetrators exploiting a victim’s trust in order to increase the amount of funds a given victim will send to them.

“Now, pig butchering is just one scam,” Warren continued. “There are many more. A recent study found that these criminal gangs have stolen and laundered more than $75 billion dollars in crypto in just the last four years.”

As Senator Elizabeth Warren criticizes crypto, not everyone may agree with her, but she paints a vivid picture of the far-reaching consequences of crypto-related crimes.

Warren Pushes DAAMLA Yet Again

Additionally, Senator Elizabeth Warren used the hearing to push her bipartisan bill known as the Digital Assets Anti-Money Laundering Act (DAAMLA), which seeks to close loopholes in anti-terrorist funding while subjecting key players in the digital asset industry to tougher regulations.

“I’ve got a bipartisan bill, Republicans and Democrats, with 20 senators that would put a stop to it,” she said. “I think it is time to pass this bill.”

The senator’s comments come amidst increased conversations about cryptocurrency regulation in light of last October’s terrorist attack in Israel that saw Hamas claim the lives of over 1200 Israelis.

As Senator Elizabeth Warren criticizes crypto and pushes for stronger oversight, she faces a formidable challenger in her upcoming senate race: pro-crypto Republican candidate John Deaton.

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