Senators Maggie Hassan, D-N.H. and Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, introduced bipartisan legislation that would mandate the Department of Treasury and other Federal entities to review the use and mining of cryptocurrencies globally, and submit a detailed report on the issue to multiple congressional committees.

The bill would require a comprehensive assessment of how foreign nations gain and turn to virtual currencies, policies they implemented to encourage cryptocurrency adoption, and whether using cryptocurrency could strengthen or undermine foreign countries within their borders.

“To strengthen U.S. competitiveness, our government must get a better handle on the role that cryptocurrency is playing in the global economy and how other countries are leveraging it,” said Sen. Hassan in a press release. “I’m glad to partner across the aisle with Senator Ernst to help ensure that the Treasury Department stays on top of the use of cryptocurrency, including how it can impact our supply chains.”

The legislation also calls for identifying the types and dollar value of cryptocurrencies mined for each fiscal year from 2016 through 2022, explicitly in the U.S., China, and globally. Officials would also need to illustrate how cryptocurrency mining operations impact supply chains, like semiconductors and other critical technologies.

Additionally, Hassan called on multiple Federal agencies, including the Treasury Department, to address current aspects of the cryptocurrency market that allow for criminal usages, such as cyberattacks.

Separately, the Justice Department said earlier this week that is launching a National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team that aims to both build trust in cryptocurrency, and dismantle criminal actors who abuse the medium of exchange.

Monaco explained that with the rise of ransomware attacks, cryptocurrency and ransomware are “inextricably linked,” as criminals are getting paid through cryptocurrency because of the extra anonymity those technologies provide.

“Cryptocurrency exchanges want to be the banks of the future. Well, we need to make sure that folks can have confidence when they’re using these systems and we need to make sure we’re poised to root out abuse that can take hold on them,” she said.

Read More About
More Topics
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.