Hillary Clinton has made no bones about where she stands on the crypto spectrum, coming out swinging against bitcoin’s potential to be used by criminals, which is substantiated to a degree by a report released by Chainalysis on ransomware attacks in North America.
Former Secretary of state under the Obama administration, Hillary Clinton, has come out strongly against bitcoin and cryptocurrency, citing its threat to the dollar’s status as a reserve currency, at the Bloomberg New Economy Forum in Singapore. Clinton added that she feels that crypto can destabilize nations. One of her concerns is what happens when crypto falls into the wrong hands. Indeed, a Chainalysis report on North American DeFi growth also reports that North America has been the biggest victim of ransomware attacks between July 2021 and June 2022, second only to Western Europe. North Americans have disbursed $131M in cryptocurrency to ransomware perpetrators.
Clinton drew attention to China’s ban on cryptocurrency and how, by doing that, the Chinese government has protected its sovereignty. India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi believes that democratic countries should work together to prevent criminals’ use of cryptocurrency at the Sydney Dialogue on Nov. 17, 2021.
Joe Biden Demands Action from the Kremlin to Curb Ransomware Attacks
President Joe Biden has implored Russian President Vladimir Putin to do more to curb the spate of ransomware attacks perpetrated by Russian cybercriminals. According to Biden, this type of criminality could be viewed as a threat to national security, as critical infrastructure is often targeted in these attacks. A case in point is the Colonial Pipeline attack that caused supply shortages on the U.S. East Coast earlier in 2021, perpetrated by a Russian hacker group called DarkSide. Colonial Pipeline paid the ransom required in cryptocurrency, which was later partially recovered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This recovery is an example of how bitcoin transactions are not impossible to trace, with law enforcement extensively employing sophisticated forensics tools to track the digital paper trail.
Regulation more likely than an outright ban in the U.S.
Bitcoin’s potential to destabilize nations stems from its peer-to-peer nature, having no intermediary. Usually, banks and financial institutions form the intermediary between consumers and the central bank and are custodians of the flow of money in the economy, subject to government regulations. Government can generate revenue by imposing taxes on people and companies. Governments also exert capital controls, limiting the inflow and outflow of foreign currency to preserve the value of the country’s sovereign currency. Bitcoin’s borderless nature now enables the cross-border transfer of wealth, free of capital controls.
President Joe Biden recently signed into law onerous reporting regulations for crypto “brokers,” prompting indignance from Texas Senator Ted Cruz. Fed chair Jerome Powell has said that he has no intention of banning bitcoin. With the SEC and the CFTC, and the Fed all possessing different pieces of the regulatory puzzle, not to mention the web of state-level crypto regulation, it is more likely that regulation will continue to grow.
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