Elizabeth Warren supports enhanced U.S. sanction options for stablecoins

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United States Senator Elizabeth Warren has sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen commenting on Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo’s testimony before the Senate Banking Committee on April 9. She pursued the same line of thought as she did during the hearing — Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT).

Warren expressed her support in the letter for the legislative adoption of more comprehensive AML/CFT measures for stablecoins. Adeyemo appeared at the Senate hearing to discuss Treasury proposals for expanding its sanctions powers to blockchain validator node operators, among other measures. The Treasury listed its enhanced enforcement goals in response to gaps in current regulation in a document Warren calls a “letter to Congress” dated November 2023. Warren wrote:

“Those authorities must be adopted into any legislation Congress advances to create a new regulatory framework around the $157 billion stablecoin market.”

Warren was apparently not referring to the stablecoin bill introduced into the Senate by Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Cynthia Lummis on April 17, the day after the date of her letter. The 179-page Lummis-Gillibrand bill makes almost no mention of AML/CFT.

Related: Elections may swing Senate Banking Committee toward crypto, Sen. Lummis says

Source: Alexander Grieve

Rather, it seems Warren had in mind a bill that is expected to come out of the House of Representatives from Finance Committee chair Patrick McHenry and ranking member Maxine Waters. Warren sent them a letter on April 8 voicing much of the same concerns as in her letter to Yellen. Warren concluded her letter to the treasury secretary by saying:

“Stablecoin legislation […] must include the full suite of AML tools that Treasury requested in its November 2023 letter to Congress as necessary to effectively combat that threat [of terrorism financing].”

Digital Chamber Senior Policy Associate Taylor Barr commented on X, possibly with the Lummis-Gillibrand bill in mind, “Would love Sen. Warren’s take on the new bill’s increased consumer protection language, added receivership text, or the Fed/OCC’s enforcement power. All this is conveniently left out of her talking points…”

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