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Sources: Crypto Action in Senate Remains on Back Burner

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 22: The U.S. Capitol Building is seen on October 22, 2021 in Washington, DC. Following a breakfast meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that Democrats were nearing a deal on reconciliation. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Amidst a flurry of proposed legislation within the Senate Banking Committee, including initiatives from Senator Elizabeth Warren, known for her skepticism toward cryptocurrencies, there’s a pause in immediate action, sources familiar with the committee’s plans reveal.

Chairman Sherrod Brown continues discussions with committee members regarding their ideas for tackling criminal activities involving cryptocurrencies. Despite strong interest from Senate Democrats, such as Elizabeth Warren, in addressing illicit financial activities facilitated by cryptocurrencies, the committee’s focus remains on other pressing matters for now.

In response to inquiries about Chairman Brown’s intentions, a spokesperson underscores his commitment to combatting illicit finance and notes ongoing collaboration with members on proposals concerning crypto money laundering controls.

While there’s growing consensus among committee members on the importance of addressing crypto-related criminal activities, particularly concerning anti-money laundering measures, there are currently no plans for a markup – the process of amending and approving a bill in committee.

Warren’s proposed legislation seeks to extend anti-money laundering requirements to various participants in the crypto ecosystem and has garnered support from several lawmakers. Additionally, bipartisan bills introduced by Senators Mark Warner and Jack Reed target similar issues related to the criminal use of cryptocurrencies.

In November, Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo advocated for additional enforcement powers for Treasury officials to combat illicit activities involving cryptocurrencies, adding another layer of complexity to the committee’s considerations.

While Chairman Brown has expressed a desire to crack down on the illicit use of crypto, no specific proposal has been scheduled for consideration yet.

Senators drafting new crypto laws must also consider the progress of related legislation in the House of Representatives. The House Financial Services Committee has passed multiple bills addressing crypto market structure, regulatory jurisdiction, and stablecoin regulation.

Concerns raised by the Chamber of Digital Commerce about Warren’s bill may be premature, as it would likely face bipartisan challenges in the Senate even if approved at the committee level. Ultimately, bipartisan support would be necessary for any crypto money-laundering law to pass in this session of Congress.

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