- 1 Elizabeth Warren reiterates the need for legislation to put a check on cryptocurrency transactions.
- 2 Crypto payments in the drug trade saw a surge of 450% in a year, according to the report.
Senator Elizabeth Warren called out the involvement of crypto in facilitating payments for trading Chinese fentanyl. Earlier, it was reported that the companies involved in the trade of drugs prefer payments in Bitcoin (BTC) and Tether (USDT) stablecoin. Warren cited the report and its data to showcase the growth of crypto transactions of the said drug lords.
During the United States Senate Banking Committee hearing on China on Wednesday, May 31, Senator Warren suggested a connection between crypto payments and the fentanyl precursor-producing companies in China. She cited the blockchain analytics from Elliptic’s report.
The May 23, 2023, report from Elliptic brought insights on the link of cryptocurrency payments and the Chinese companies involved in illicit drug transactions. It stated that from a rough figure of 90 such fentanyl precursors supplying companies, about 90% were open to take payments in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
Citing the report, Massachusetts Senator highlighted the contrast between Chinese crypto companies involved in crypto transactions despite the ban in the region. The cryptocurrency transactions of fentanyl traders in the region witnessed an enormous jump of over 450% within a year, she added.
Warren added that the amount of precursor drugs sold was enough to make 540 billion USD worth of fentanyl pills. The said amount of fentanyl is enough “to kill nearly 9 billion people, all paid for by crypto.”
Elizabeth Warren Signals Reintroducing Crypto Transactions Bill
During the hearing, Warren’s claims received support from Assistant Secretary of the U.S Treasury Department’s Terrorist Financing and financial crimes, Elizabeth Rosenberg. She stated that the pseudonymous nature of cryptocurrency transactions makes it a likely and reliable choice for drug brokers. She agreed with Warren that cryptocurrency payments have a major chunk in the transactions of Chinese drug companies.
With this, Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren iterated her plan to reintroduce the legislation introduced in December 2022 to put a check on crypto payments. The bipartisan bill dubbed Digital Asset Anti-money Laundering Act was formed along with the Republican Senator from Kansas State, Roger Marshall.
The proposed bill had some vital provisions that included an extension of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) to the crypto wallet providers, crypto miners, validators, and other participants across the network. In addition, it seeks to stop financial institutions from getting involved in transactions with crypto mixers or any other privacy technologies. “Congress has talked about fentanyl long enough. We propose to do something to fight back,” she added.
The United States Drug Enforcement Administration defines fentanyl as a potent synthetic opioid drug which is approx 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine as an analgesic.
National Institutes of Health data shows that the overdose of fentanyl-like synthetic opioids are responsible for over 70k deaths in 2021 in the United States alone.
Nancy J. Allen is a crypto enthusiast, with a major in macroeconomics and minor in business statistics. She believes that cryptocurrencies inspire people to be their own banks, and step aside from traditional monetary exchange systems. She is also intrigued by blockchain technology and its functioning. She frequently researches, and posts content on the top altcoins, their theoretical working principles and technical price predictions.