Treasury Secretary Says Innovation Should Help More People Climb To A Higher Quality Of Life

While warning about cryptocurrencies’ use in financing illegal activities, yet again.


US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has fired off yet another warning about an “explosion of risk” from cryptocurrency markets. This time again, she pointed to the use of cryptos in illegal activities, which is becoming a “growing problem.”

Yellen reiterated her views from her confirmation hearing in January when she called the cryptos’ use in such illegal activities “a particular concern.” In her opening remarks at a financial sector innovation policy roundtable on Wednesday, she said,

“I see the promise of these new technologies, but I also see the reality: cryptocurrencies have been used to launder the profits of online drug traffickers; they’ve been a tool to finance terrorism.”

Referring to the Anti-Money Laundering Act that was passed into law by Congress last December, which requires the US government to update its anti-money laundering /countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) laws, Yellen said, “the update couldn’t have come at a better time” as we live “amidst an explosion of risk.”

Yellen’s latest remarks came after a leaked UN report linked North Korean hackers to stealing cryptocurrencies to fund the nation’s nuclear weapons program to circumvent sanctions. Chainalysis estimates North Korean aligned hacking group Lazarus’ total proceeds from stolen cryptocurrency to upwards of $1.75 billion.

Also, just a week back, the UN published a report saying cryptos have been used to finance ISIS and AL-Qaeda.

Yellen said the Treasury Department, along with regulatory agencies in its umbrella, “can better stem the flow of dark money.”

However, it wasn’t all risks that she talked about but also said that innovation in the sector could also help reduce inequality, provide people access to the financial system and fight crime.

“Innovation should not just be a shield to protect against bad actors. Innovation should also be a ladder to help more people climb to a higher quality of life”

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