US Treasury secretary-designate Yellen sets sights on cryptocurrencies

US Treasury secretary-designate Yellen takes aim at cryptocurrencies

US Treasury Secretary-designate Janet Yellen has been critical of cryptocurrencies during questioning before the Senate. She said cryptocurrencies are a dangerous vehicle for terrorist financing.

In a video conference, the future US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen answered questions from the Senate Finance Committee on 19 January. The hearing focused on plans to help the US economy emerge from its Corona economic crisis. But cryptocurrencies by Bitcoin Union were also mentioned.

Chair attaches to cryptocurrencies

When asked by Senator Maggie Hassan about the importance the former Federal Reserve Chair attaches to cryptocurrencies in the fight against terrorist financing, Yellen replied:

I think a lot of cryptocurrencies, at least in the sense of transactions, are used primarily for illicit financing, and I think we really need to look at ways to limit their use and make sure that money laundering doesn’t happen through those channels.

The statements take on particular weight in light of the attack on Capitol Hill. As the blockchain company Chainalysis has demonstrated, significant Bitcoin donations flowed from France in the run-up to the attack to various far-right organisations allegedly involved in storming the parliament building.

But even without this incident, Yellen’s stance on cryptocurrencies is by no means new. Time and again, Bitcoin and Co. are written off as popular vehicles for money laundering and terrorist financing. Whether Yellen will pay special attention to the regulation of cryptocurrencies during her term is still open. The economist still has to be formally confirmed by the Senate as Treasury Secretary and would be the first woman ever to hold the office.