Decrypt’s Art, Fashion, and Entertainment Hub.
Concerns regarding cryptocurrency are once again echoing through the halls of Congress.
At a hearing before the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Tuesday, FBI director Christopher Wray called cryptocurrency a “significant issue” that’s poised to become much bigger for U.S. law enforcement.
His comments came in response to a question from Republican Senator and former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who asked if cryptocurrency was worth examining further and if anything should be done regarding its use in potential terrorist-funding schemes.
While it’s definitely a question the FBI has been pondering, Wray said it’s still unclear what action should be taken from a regulatory standpoint. He instead mentioned that the FBI is taking a more “investigative” approach towards cryptocurrencies.
Specifically, Wray hinted that outside organizations and “adversaries” of the U.S. are becoming more acquainted with blockchain—the technology that underpins cryptocurrency—and that these groups are making a greater effort to anonymize their financial habits.
Wray explained, “Whether it’s cryptocurrency or default encryption on devices and messaging platforms, we are moving in a direction as a country and world where if we don’t get our act together, money, people, communications, evidence, facts, all the bread and butter for all of us to do our work will be essentially walled off from the men and women we represent.”
The U.S. government has had its hands full with various issues regarding digital currency as of late. Recent targets include Facebook’s Libra, a stablecoin project which has given many members of Congress cause for concern. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spoke at a congressional hearing on October 23 to address politicians’ worries about money laundering, customer privacy and Libra’s potential abilities to sidewind the U.S. dollar.
But not every politician in America is crypto or blockchain phobic. During a podcast recorded last month, Congressman Warren Davidson (R-OH) suggested that Facebook should drop its plans for Libra and adopt Bitcoin instead. And last year, Congressman Tom Emmer (R-MN) announced he would introduce three new cryptocurrency bills designed to boost blockchain innovation in the United States.
“Legislators should be embracing emerging technologies and providing a clear regulatory system that allows them to flourish,” he said at the time.