Warren Urges Crypto Funding Shutdown to Tackle Fentanyl Crisis

During a Senate hearing on Wednesday, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts (D) raised concerns about the extensive utilization of cryptocurrency in the Chinese fentanyl trade. She emphasized the need for legislative measures to disrupt this illicit pipeline.

Citing information obtained from research firm Elliptic, a notable member of the Senate Banking Committee highlighted an alarming finding.

According to the data, over 90 Chinese businesses were identified as willing to transport fentanyl precursors, and notably, nearly all of them accepted cryptocurrency as a form of payment.

During the panel's hearing, Elizabeth Rosenberg, the U.S. Treasury Department's assistant secretary for terrorist financing and financial crimes, acknowledged the use of bitcoin payments in wallets by precursor manufacturers and illicit drug organizations. She expressed concern about this mode of operation in her testimony, recognizing its unfortunate prevalence.

According to Rosenberg, “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.

Among individuals aged 18-45, fentanyl-related overdoses have tragically claimed the top spot as the leading cause of death in the United States.

The production of this lethal drug relies heavily on chemicals sourced from China, traversing multiple borders before reaching users of the synthetic opioid within the country.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has classified fentanyl as a substance approximately 100 times more potent than morphine, exacerbating its danger.” 

Highlighting a potential solution, Senator Warren put forth her Digital Asset Anti-Money Laundering Act, expressing confidence in its ability to disrupt crypto payments associated with illicit activities.

She further mentioned that the bill will be reintroduced during the current Congress, emphasizing her commitment to addressing this issue.

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