Senator Warren Calls for Crypto Ban on Fentanyl Trade

Senator Warren Calls for Crypto Ban on Fentanyl Trade

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren has called for legislation to shut down cryptocurrency funding for the fentanyl trade. During a Senate hearing, Warren highlighted the use of cryptocurrency by Chinese businesses involved in shipping fentanyl precursors. She cited research from Elliptic, a data firm, which revealed that over 90 Chinese companies accept cryptocurrency as payment. “Crypto is helping fund the fentanyl trade, and we have the power to shut that down,” Warren claimed.

The use of cryptocurrencies in illegal activities such as drug trafficking has long been a concern among regulators and governments around the world. The pseudonymity offered by cryptocurrencies makes them appealing to these illicit organizations as they provide an easy way to conduct transactions without revealing one’s identity. This anonymity also makes it difficult for law enforcement agencies to track and identify those involved in these activities.

Fentanyl overdoses have become a leading cause of death among individuals aged 18-45 in the United States, with many of the precursor chemicals originating from China. The situation is further complicated by the fact that many of these transactions are conducted through Chinese businesses that accept cryptocurrency as payment.

Warren's call for legislation is not the first time that lawmakers have attempted to crack down on the use of cryptocurrencies for illegal activities. In 2020, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) charged two Chinese nationals with laundering more than $100 million worth of cryptocurrency stolen from exchanges. The DOJ noted that the stolen funds were used to purchase luxury items and services and that some of the funds were linked to drug trafficking.

While it remains to be seen whether Warren's proposed legislation will gain traction, it is clear that the use of cryptocurrencies in illegal activities like drug trafficking is a growing concern for regulators and governments worldwide. With the rise of decentralized finance (DeFi) platforms and privacy-focused cryptocurrencies like Monero and Zcash, the need for effective regulation has become more pressing than ever.

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