Elizabeth Warren wants to stop cryptocurrency funding for Fentanyl

During a Senate hearing on Wednesday, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) referenced the widespread use of cryptocurrency in the Chinese fentanyl trade and argued for legislation to help stop this practice. She cited data from the research firm Elliptic, which revealed that over 90 Chinese businesses offering to ship fentanyl precursors, almost all of them accepted cryptocurrency as payment.

Elizabeth Rosenberg, the U.S. Treasury Department’s assistant secretary for terrorist financing and financial crimes, testified during the hearing and stated, “Unfortunately, that is a mode that some of these precursor manufacturers and illicit drug organizations have used – the receipt of bitcoin payments in wallets, cryptocurrency wallets. The reason why they would find this appealing is the same reason that other financial criminals would find it appealing, which is to say there’s an element of pseudonymity that they seek.”

Fentanyl overdoses have become the leading killer for those aged 18-45 in the U.S. The chemicals used to manufacture the drug often come from China and are transported across multiple borders on their way to U.S. users. Warren suggested that her Digital Asset Anti-Money Laundering Act may help cut off the cryptocurrency payments and stated that the bill will be reintroduced in this Congress. “Crypto is helping fund the fentanyl trade, and we have the power to shut that down,” Warren said. “It’s time.”

Edited by Nikhilesh De.

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