In 2022, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren authored a bill that would require cryptocurrency wallet providers to comply with bank Anti-Money Laundering rules. Not crypto exchanges, mind you, but the wallets themselves. Kansas Senator Roger Marshall joined her on the proposal as a co-sponsor.
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Sadly, Marshall betrayed the populist principles he ran on as a candidate. The bill also betrayed the civil liberties and privacy tenets of progressivism that Warren espouses.
Warren and Marshall are planning to reignite that debate on Capitol Hill this summer and have enlisted law enforcement advocates to their cause. Prosecutors and federal agents doubtless support the bill, as they have every other bill that turns the one-way ratchet of financial surveillance. If they had their way, our personal bank account and credit card logins would rest on a central repository for the Department of Justice to access at will and without a warrant.
The Warren bill would require that anyone who designs a crypto wallet (a computer program designed to store the encryption code that helps to keep your crypto tokens secure) register as a money services business and, essentially, be regulated like a financial institution.
This means that any computer programmer entrepreneur who writes code to help customers control crypto investments from their phone — and to help keep the crypto secure from hackers — would need to register with the Treasury Department as if they were Western Union. Good luck with that, crypto startups.
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