Senators use new bill to push for a Treasury study on mining

Two U.S. senators want the Treasury Department to investigate crypto mining around the world and report back to Congress on its findings.

Senators Maggie Hassan (D-New Hampshire) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) presented legislation Monday to strengthen control of bitcoin mining operations in other countries. The measure would force the Treasury Department to prepare and submit to Congress a report on how nations use and mine cryptocurrencies, as well as the amount of cryptocurrency generated in the United States and other countries, including China, since 2016.

Additionally, Treasury would be forced to perform an analysis of the impact of cryptocurrency mining on supply chains for vital commodities such as semiconductors, a global shortage of which has resulted in significant interruptions in production for products such as automobiles.

“To bolster the United States’ competitiveness, our government must have a greater understanding of the role of cryptocurrencies in the global economy and how it is leveraged by other countries,” Hassan said in a statement Monday.

“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,”

Concerns about cryptocurrency regulation have grown on Capitol Hill in recent months, with August’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan delayed by debate over cryptocurrency-related amendments.

Cryptocurrency exchanges have also come under fire as a result of the increasing frequency of ransomware attacks, with cyber criminals frequently utilising these markets to facilitate payments from victims.

Recent ransomware assaults have targeted Colonial Pipeline and JBS USA, with both organisations opting to pay the ransom in bitcoin, however the Justice Department recovered the majority of the monies paid by Colonial.

As a result, the federal government has taken action, with the Justice Department imposing its first sanctions against a virtual currency exchange last week for allegedly facilitating ransomware attack payments through the cryptocurrency exchange SUEX OTC.

China’s central bank took a step further last week, declaring all cryptocurrency transactions illegal due to security concerns and the use of cryptocurrency exchanges for criminal purposes.

Hassan wrote to various federal authorities earlier this month to express her concerns about the use of cryptocurrency marketplaces to promote criminal conduct, such as ransomware attack payments. “Cryptocurrency’s anonymity has facilitated its usage by criminals in a variety of ways,” Hassan wrote in the letters. “These applications include drug sales on the dark web, ransomware attack payouts, tax evasion, financing of terrorism and organised crime, and mo

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