Whoa! U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has been busy taking a deep and long look at all that is crypto-related. In March 2022 she announced a new bill to block cryptocurrency companies from conducting business with sanctioned companies…
The senator believes that Vladimir Putin and his friends use crypto to evade sanctions. She wants crypto companies that allow them to do so must be held accountable.
It’s unclear how much support the Massachusetts senator’s proposal, the Digital Asset Sanctions Compliance Enhancement Act, can muster. But Warren’s latest offensive is roiling an industry wary of her staunch opposition to crypto. It’s seen how ideas it deems vague and unnecessary can unexpectedly gain traction in Washington.
- The bill would slap penalties on non-U.S. crypto exchanges that facilitate transactions involving Russian individuals and entities on the sanctions list, and give the Treasury Department the authority to ban crypto companies “from transacting with cryptocurrency addresses that are known to be, or could reasonably be known to be, in Russia.”
- That would mean added pressure on U.S. crypto companies that have resisted imposing a blanket ban on Russian crypto, arguing that it would hurt ordinary users.
- Crucially, the penalties would cover not just exchanges but “facilitators”: a group that includes pretty much anyone working in crypto, including “any person” who assists in the “purchase, sale, lending, borrowing, exchange, custody, holding, validation, or creation of digital assets.”
In December 2021 Warren took aim at several bitcoin mining operations raising concerns about their impact on the global environment.
On December 2, Warren shared a letter she sent to the CEO of the New York bitcoin mining firm Greenidge Generation Holdings, Jeff Kirt, with the news publication Bloomberg. “Given the extraordinarily high energy usage and carbon emissions associated with bitcoin mining, mining operations at Greenidge and other plants raise concerns about their impacts on the global environment, on local ecosystems, and on consumer electricity costs,” Warren’s letter explains. The U.S. senator also tweeted the Bloomberg article via her official Twitter account and further said:
“Crypto mining has huge environmental costs & is raising energy prices for consumers. Bitcoin alone consumes as much energy as Washington state. I’m calling on Bitcoin company [Greenidge Generation] to provide information on its operations & environmental impact.“Twitter
.In January, Sen. Warren expanded her inquiry of bitcoin miners’ energy usage and their environmental footprint, sending letters to six more miners. “The extraordinarily high energy usage and carbon emissions associated with Bitcoin mining could undermine our hard work to tackle the climate crisis – not to mention the harmful impacts crypto mining has on local environments and electricity prices,” Warren stated in new the letter. The correspondence added to a list of inquiries by lawmakers globally on the energy consumption of proof-of-work (PoW) mechanisms that reward crypto miners for validating transactions. Most recently, the U.S. held a congressional hearing to discuss the energy consumption related to the PoW. Meanwhile, the European Union’s markets regulator called for a ban on the validation system, citing its energy intensity.
On March 31st Senator Warren spoke with NBC’s Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press Reports.” She stated it’s time for the U.S. to create its own central bank digital currency (CBDC).
- “So a lot that banks do wrong, if you think, ‘We could improve that in a digital world,’ the answer is, ‘Sure you could.’ But in that case, let’s do a central bank digital currency,” Warren told Todd. “Yes, I think it’s time for us to move in that direction.”
- Responding to Todd’s question on whether bitcoin (BTC) will face at minimum being regulated like a commodity, Warren responded, “I think it’s going to end up getting regulated,” using the subprime mortgage financial crisis that started in 2007 as an example of why it’s needed. She didn’t say what form such regulations might take.
- On whether the senator saw cryptocurrency as “this decade’s real estate bubble,” Warren replied, “The whole digital world has worked very much like a bubble works. What is it moved up on? It’s moved up on the fact that people all tell each other that it’s going to be great, just again like it was on that real estate market. How many times did people say, ‘Real Estate always goes up? It never goes down?’ They said it decades ago before the last real estate bubble. They said it in the 2000s, before the crash in 2008.”
via: Greg Ahlstrand @ Coindesk