A bipartisan group of lawmakers in the US Senate introduced legislation aimed at curbing the role of cryptocurrencies in terrorist financing, clearly citing the Hamas attack on October 7 in Israel.
On December 7, Senators Mitt Romney, Mark Warner, Mike Rounds, and Jack Reed announced that they had introduced the Terrorist Financing Prevention Act. The bill would expand US sanctions to include parties that fund terrorist organizations using cryptocurrency or fiat money. According to Senator Romney, the legislation will allow the US Treasury Department to pursue “emerging threats involving digital assets” following the October 7 attacks, as well as the actions of the terrorist group Hezbollah.
“The Treasury Department must have the counterterrorism tools necessary to combat modern threats,” said Senator Rounds. “The Terrorist Financing Prevention Act takes common steps to eliminate terrorism by sanctioning foreign financial institutions and foreign digital asset companies that help them commit these nefarious acts.”
Hamas attacks against Israel has accelerated the need for the United States to counter the role played by cryptocurrencies in terrorist financing. Our bipartisan bill expands sanctions to cover all terrorist organizations — including Hamas — and addresses threats involving digital assets.
The 10-page bill includes provisions that allow the US Treasury to prohibit transactions with a “foreign digital asset transaction facilitator” that is on the list of sanctioned entities. On October 18, the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control sanctioned a Gaza-based cryptocurrency operator and added North Korean nationals to its list for using cryptocurrency mixers to launder funds.
The bill proposed by the senators comes at a time when several US lawmakers have spoken openly about the alleged role of cryptocurrencies in financing terrorist groups. In October, about a week after the Hamas attack on Israel, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and more than 100 lawmakers signed a letter calling for action to “essentially curb the illegal activity of cryptocurrency” used to fund such organizations. .
Warren admitted in a hearing on December 6 that North Korea finances about half of its missile program with “crypto crime proceeds.” Blockchain analysis company Elliptic reported in October that there was “no evidence” that Hamas received a significant amount of crypto donations to fund its attacks.