The background of Senator Warren's bill, a way to censor bitcoin?
U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, against bitcoin (BTC) and cryptocurrencies, proposed a bill called the Digital Assets Sanctions Sanctions Enforcement Enhancement Act. The goal, she said, is to prevent Russia from benefiting from their use in the face of economic sanctions imposed by the United States.
The proposal would "combat the risk of Russia using digital assets to evade international sanctions by discouraging foreign cryptocurrency companies from doing business with sanctioned Russian elites," explains the document submitted on March 16. However, some argue that behind Warren's proposal lies something much bigger, detrimental to the bitcoin and cryptocurrency industry. One of those who made their suspicions known was Coin Center, an organization dedicated to researching and analyzing legislation on cryptocurrencies and decentralized technologies.
Coin Center explained that Warren's proposal would impose "broad restrictions on the cryptocurrency ecosystem under the guise of strengthening sanctions against Russia for its unwarranted invasion of Ukraine," according to a post made on its website. The organization suggests that Warren introduced the bill, even though the White House, FBI, and Treasury Department assured that there is no data to determine that sanctioned parties have used or may use cryptocurrencies to evade sanctions.
"The bill would impose broad restrictions on people who build, operate, and use cryptocurrency networks, even if they have no knowledge or intent to help someone evade sanctions," Coin Center notes.
Coin Center's concern
Among the points that most concern the organization is Section 4 of the proposal. There, it empowers the Secretary of the Treasury to implement a blanket ban without distinction on exchanges of BTC and other non-custodial cryptocurrencies doing business with any person or any cryptocurrency address "known, or reasonably likely to be known, to be affiliated with persons" in Russia. According to Coin Center, this provision allows the Treasury Secretary to "arbitrarily" prohibit software developers, miners, and node operators from having any "business" interaction with any person or address that may be Russian.
They consider this a "broad and vague" power to "direct the behavior of countless Americans," plus, in their view, it will do "little or nothing" to prevent the Russian state or oligarchs from circumventing sanctions. re "Targeting ordinary [Russian] citizens who could be the West's greatest allies against a regime they didn't elect is not a good strategy," they explain. Additionally, another point of the proposal also directly affects U.S. citizens since, according to the document, they will have to make a declaration for every transaction made for an amount more significant than USD 10,000 with cryptocurrencies abroad.
Warren wants to regulate Bitcoin.
Warren's proposal is not surprising, as she has always been a voice against crypto assets in the United States. The senator called Bitcoin a "risk" to the U.S. financial system, considering that it is controlled by "shadowy super programmers" with evil intentions. She has also repeatedly demanded legislation to mitigate the risks posed by Bitcoin and other related financial instruments, such as stable coins and decentralized finance platforms (DeFi).