At a recent Senate Armed Services hearing, Senator Elizabeth Warren raised the tone of her criticism of the world of cryptocurrencies, highlighting concerns about the national security of the United States. With a particular focus on North Korea’s use of cryptography, Warren illuminated a bleak landscape where cryptocurrency serves as a vehicle for illicit activity on a global scale. According to her, funds obtained through cryptocurrencies are facilitating the operations of rogue states and criminal organizations, including terrorists, on an unprecedented scale.

At the heart of her concerns, the senator highlighted the theft of US$1.7 billion in cryptocurrencies by North Korea in 2022, an amount that could finance the acquisition of more than 56 intercontinental ballistic missiles. This statement was made during a dialogue with Admiral John C. Aquilino, from the United States Indo-Pacific Command, who was not surprised by the numbers presented.

The Lazarus Group, a North Korean state-sponsored hacker collective, and cryptocurrency mixer Sinbad, recently sanctioned by the US for their illicit activities, were cited as concrete examples of this threat. The senator argued that these practices not only weaken national security, but also promote a robust underground economy through fraud and money laundering.

In addition to North Korea’s actions, Warren has expanded her scope of criticism to address “pig slaughter” scams, a fraud that has victimized more than 40,000 Americans, resulting in losses exceeding $3.5 billion in 2023. This type of scam, which exploits victims’ trust to extort large sums of money, is just one facet of a much larger problem that encompasses the theft and laundering of more than $75 billion in cryptocurrencies over the past four years.

In this context of open criticism, Warren reinforced the importance of the Digital Asset Anti-Money Laundering Act (DAAMLA), a bipartisan proposal that seeks to introduce stricter regulations in the digital asset sector to combat terrorist financing and money laundering. This legislation aims to not only protect the financial integrity of the United States, but also establish a regulatory framework that can prevent the misuse of cryptocurrencies in illicit activities.

As Warren pushes forward with her campaign for stricter regulations, she faces a challenging political landscape, with opposition from pro-cryptocurrency figures who see these digital assets in a different light. The debate surrounding cryptocurrency, between national security and financial innovation, continues to evolve, highlighting the need for a balanced approach that protects both national security and economic growth potential.


The views and opinions expressed by the author, or anyone mentioned in this article, are for informational purposes only and do not constitute financial, investment or other advice. Investing or trading cryptocurrencies carries a risk of financial loss.


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