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Senator Decries ‘Anonymity’ of Crypto in Crimes, Calls on Gov’t to Act

Sen. Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire has brought up concerns around the use of cryptocurrency for illicit means and has asked federal agencies to do something, The Hill reported.

Hassan, who is a member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, raised the issue amid a preponderance of ransomware and similar cyberattacks over the last year which have grown in size and scale since the world had to shift to digital because of the pandemic, according to the report.

“The anonymity provided by cryptocurrency has helped facilitate its use by criminals in a myriad of ways,” she said, per The Hill. “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.”

The agencies she pressed in a Thursday (Sept. 16) letter to take action include the Department of Justice (DOJ) the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the IRS, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), according to the report.

She asked those agencies what they can do about regulating crypto, what more authorities they need and whether crypto exchanges should have to reimburse fraud victims from those exchanges, the report stated but didn’t go into detail regarding any responses.

One example of recent fraud Hassan gave from New Hampshire was of a case in which $2.3 million was stolen from the city of Peterborough and converted to cryptocurrency, which made it unable to be recovered, according to the report.

With more regulation looming, there have been debates on Capitol Hill recently that have delayed the Senate’s $1 trillion infrastructure package from August, and lawmakers are likely to continue dissecting the issues, the report stated.

Peter Diskin, assistant regional director at the U.S. SEC’s Atlanta office, said last month that crimes involving cryptocurrency have become somewhat of a trend.

Read more: Crypto Scams Now Favored Crime Tool

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