Scathing crypto critic Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is continuing to sound the alarm on Bitcoin’s role in terrorist financing – though industry figureheads think her claims may once again be exaggerated.
In an interview with CNBC’s Squawk Box on Thursday, the progressive senator said that crypto has been used to finance half of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.
“There’s a new threat out there – it’s crypto,” she said. “It is being used for terrorist financing, it is being used for drug trafficking.”
Warren’s comments followed an annual congressional hearing with top U.S. banking CEOs on Wednesday, during which she asked the executive whether crypto firms should face the same anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing provisions under the Bank Secrecy Act as traditional banks.
All present executives agreed, including JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon, who argued that crypto is only useful for criminals and that he’d ban the entire industry if he ran the government.
It marked a rare point of common ground for both Dimon and Warren, with the latter historically being a fierce banking critic due to the industry’s risky practices. “What this tells me is that it’s time for Congress to act,” said Warren.
So now we live in a world where a pro-banker Elizabeth Warren sits, stays, and rolls over for the CEO of JP Morgan so long as he feeds her self-serving attacks on his industry’s primary competitor.
What’s next, a pro-war Bernie?
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) December 8, 2023
Warren’s Anti-Crypto History
It’s not the first time Warren has pushed for strict crypto regulation. In October, the senator called on the Biden administration to clarify its efforts to reign in crypto-based terrorist financing to groups like Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).
In her letter, Warren claimed that such groups raised $130 million in cryptocurrency between August 2021 and June 2023. However, further comments from Elliptic, the source of the figure, clarified that each group had only potentially received around $20,000 in crypto.
Naturally, crypto leaders are now skeptical of whether Warren’s claims about North Korea and crypto are legitimate.
Let’s state the facts honestly: the currency most used for bribery, extortion, drug trafficking, human trafficking, and money laundering is the US dollar. There is no real runner up, least of all Bitcoin where every transaction is transparent and recorded for all time.
— Natalie Brunell ⚡️ (@natbrunell) December 7, 2023
“Elizabeth Warren loves banks, loves multi-millionaires, hates the people,” said Dogecoin creator Billy Markus in response to her comments. “Younger Elizabeth Warren would have declared the enemy of the people to be current Elizabeth Warren.”