During a United States Senate Banking Committee hearing on China, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren referenced a report from blockchain analytics firm Elliptic to highlight a potential link between cryptocurrency payments and Chinese companies that supplied precursors for the opioid fentanyl. According to Elliptic‘s report, published on May 23, approximately 90% of the China-based firms involved in fentanyl precursor supply were open to accepting cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, for payment, indicating possible connections to “illegal drug transactions.”
Warren Raises Concerns Over Crypto Transactions Tied to Chinese Fentanyl Brokers
Sen. Warren cited an Elliptic report showing a 450% increase in crypto transactions tied to Chinese fentanyl brokers. Elizabeth Rosenberg, assistant secretary for terrorist financing and financial crimes at the U.S. Treasury Department, supported Warren’s argument, stating that the pseudonymous nature of crypto transactions likely facilitated payments for drug brokers. Furthermore, Rosenberg confirmed that crypto has become one of the primary payment methods for Chinese companies.
Elizabeth Warren to Reintroduce Digital Asset Anti-Money Laundering Act
Senator Warren plans to reintroduce legislation targeting regulatory loopholes related to payments in the illegal drug trade. Moreover, Warren plans to reintroduce the Digital Asset Anti-Money Laundering Act after previously introducing it in 2022.
In 2021, synthetic opioid overdoses, including fentanyl, caused over 70,000 deaths in the US. The authorities shut down Silk Road, a platform facilitating illegal drug transactions, in 2013. Founder Ross Ulbricht received a life sentence.
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