US Lawmakers To Form Committee To Address Regulatory Concerns Around Crypto
Lawmakers in the United States are looking into developing regulatory frameworks for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum.
The US Rep and chairwoman of the House Financial Services, Maxine Waters, revealed her intentions to create a working group with Democratic House members to tackle growing concerns on cryptocurrencies
Waters Pushes for More Crypto Oversight
Waters made this announcement while discussing CBDCs at a virtual hearing with the House Task Force on Financial Technology. She said the group would engage with regulators and experts to address issues and understand the crypto industry.
Waters has long been critical of cryptocurrencies. Earlier this year, she suggested that some of the decisions implemented by President Trump’s appointed Comptroller of the Currency, Brian Brooks were too lenient.
Brooks had used his tenure at the OCC to grant several federal charters to crypto companies, creating the first American crypto banks.
In 2019, Waters also led a charge to halt Facebook’s Diem token project (called Libra at the time) until Congress and regulators had the opportunity to examine the issues and take action.
The criticism on cryptocurrency has been heightened lately due to the recent ransomware attacks. Another government official, Senator Elizabeth Warren, recently ripped into crypto at a CBDC-focused hearing before the Senate Economic Policy Committee.
Warren highlighted the high energy use of Bitcoin mining and referred to the crypto industry as a “Wild West” in need of regulation.
The attack against Colonial Pipeline last month, which paid a ransom in Bitcoin, has sparked new discussions about regulating the crypto sector.
Apart from Colonial Pipeline, a similar ransomware attack happened last month against CNA Financial. CNA, one of the country’s biggest insurance companies, reportedly paid $40 million in Bitcoin to restore access to its network.
The largest meat producer JBS SA was also attacked last month, forcing it to shut down its US beef plants. It reportedly paid $11 million as ransom to the attackers.
Increased Scrutiny On Crypto Caused By Ransomware Attacks
The spotlight is now on the cryptocurrency industry due to its role as a payment method for ransomware criminals. These hackers often asked to be paid in Bitcoin or privacy-focused digital assets like Monero. This allows them to remain anonymous.
The Joe Biden administration has highlighted ransomware as a national security concern as it continues to sound the alarm on the growing plague.
The White House even issued a statement on Sunday naming virtual currency as playing a part in “malicious cyber activities.”
The ransomware attacks have become a major issue causing tensions between the US and Russia. President Joe Biden is set to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin later this week to discuss numerous issues including the incessant cyber attacks from Russia on US companies.