Democrats Rebel Against Elizabeth Warren’s DASCEA Bill

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  • Progressive Democrats have balked at Elizabeth Warren’s new crypto bill
  • The DASCEA bill would is similar in nature to Steve Mnuchin’s abortive crypto surveillance bill
  • Warren still believes that Russian oligarchs can retain their wealth through cryptocurrency

A number of progressive Democrats have rejected the concept behind a new draft bill by Senator Elizabeth Warren that would, in the words of crypto lawyer Jake Chervinsky, result in authorities “massively expanding warrantless surveillance on US citizens’ crypto transactions”. Warren’s proposed Digital Assets Sanctions Compliance Enhancement Act (DASCEA), which we reported last week was in the works, is aimed at preventing U.S. crypto companies dealing with sanctioned individuals and organizations but has been criticized as another attempt to clamp down on crypto users’ privacy.

Warren Channels Her Inner Mnuchin

Warren revealed last week that she was working on a bill that was similar in nature to that proposed by Steve Mnuchin in the dying days of the Trump administration, in that it would attempt to identify actors on both ends of a cryptocurrency transfer.

That bill was scrapped when the Biden administration took office, but Warren has channeled her inner Mnuchin, announcing the purpose of the DASCEA bill during a Senate Banking Committee hearing yesterday:

“This is a bill that would authorize [president Biden] to sanction foreign crypto firms that are doing business with sanctioned Russian entities and authorize the Treasury secretary to act.

DASCEA would require the White House to gather information on all crypto service providers that have any affiliation with Russia and ban the activities of any they don’t approve of, while Treasury Secretary, Janet Yellen, would be tasked with identifying crypto exchanges that could be at “high risk for sanctions evasion” and reporting them to Congress. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) would also have to identify users sending or receiving more than $10,000 worth of cryptocurrency.

DASCEA Would Ramp Up Mass Surveillance

Much like Mnuchin’s abortive attempts to restrict crypto usage, DASCEA has come in for strong criticism from the crypto community, with CoinCenter’s Director of Research Peter Van Valkenburgh pointing out the many flaws in the bill:

Warren put on a display of spectacular myopia yesterday when talking to Jonathan Levin, the co-founder of crypto analysis company Chainalysis, talking over him when his responses to her questions, which were squarely aimed at backing up the principles of her bill, didn’t match up with what she wanted to hear:

Thankfully, more progressive Democrats, alongside many Republicans, are worried about the crushing impact of DASCEA on the crypto industry in the U.S. With the bill needing bipartisan support it is unlikely to get past the first stage and will hopefully never be revisited.