Senator Elizabeth Warren’s Digital Asset Anti-Money Laundering Act has gained additional support from five senators, marking a growing endorsement for the legislation that targets illicit uses of cryptocurrencies. Senators Raphael Warnock, Laphonza Butler, Chris Van Hollen, John Hickenlooper, and Ben Ray Luján have joined as cosponsors of the bill, reinforcing the bipartisan push to crack down on money laundering and terrorist financing through crypto assets.
In an announcement on December 11, Senator Warren expressed her satisfaction with the new senators joining the cause, emphasizing the bill’s robust approach to combatting crypto’s illicit use. The legislation, reintroduced in July, aims to equip regulators with enhanced tools to address challenges posed by digital assets in the context of financial crimes.
The Digital Asset Anti-Money Laundering Act already enjoyed bipartisan support from various senators and organizations, including the Bank Policy Institute, Massachusetts Bankers Association, Transparency International U.S., Global Financial Integrity, National District Attorneys Association, Major County Sheriffs of America, the National Consumer Law Center, and the National Consumers League.
Warren reiterated a statement made during a Senate Banking Committee hearing on December 6, where she claimed that approximately half of North Korea’s missile program is funded by digital assets. This assertion underscores the senator’s commitment to addressing potential threats associated with the misuse of cryptocurrencies.
While the bill gains traction in Congress, critics have emerged, suggesting a need to focus on bad actors rather than regulating the underlying technology. Steve Weisman, a cybersecurity expert, endorsed the legislation in a November Senate hearing, emphasizing its importance in addressing money laundering concerns.
However, concerns have been raised about the potential impact of the bill on the cryptocurrency industry. Alex Thorn, head of firmwide research at Galaxy Research, characterized the bill as an “effective ban” on Bitcoin and crypto in a December 11 post on X (formerly Twitter). Thorn pointed to clauses in the act extending Know Your Customer requirements to crypto wallet providers, miners, and validators, arguing that decentralized software cannot realistically perform centralized compliance functions.
Neeraj Agrawal, communications director at crypto think tank Coin Center, echoed these sentiments on X, describing the bill as a “direct attack on technological progress” and personal privacy. Agrawal emphasized that the bill, presented as a solution to money laundering and terrorist financing, contradicts liberal values and can only be opposed in its entirety.