Bipartisan Senate Senators Mitt Romney, Mark Warner, Mike Rounds, and Jack Reed introduced the Terrorism Financing Prevention Act.
The legislation targets cryptocurrency financing of terrorism, referencing Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel. The law strengthens U.S. penalties to encompass bitcoin and fiat currency funders of terrorist organizations.
Senator Romney says the bill allows the Treasury Department to address “emerging threats involving digital assets” in response to recent attacks, notably Hezbollah’s. The Terrorism Financing Prevention Act recommends punishing foreign banks and digital asset businesses that sponsor terrorism.
The 10-page measure allows the U.S. Treasury to ban transactions with a sanctioned “foreign digital asset transaction facilitator”. The Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control sanctioned a Gaza-based crypto operator on October 18 and added North Korean nationals to its list of cryptocurrency mixer launderers.
Senate proposal fits with U.S. politicians’ rising concerns about cryptocurrency fueling terrorist groups. In October, Senator Elizabeth Warren and over 100 senators signed a letter advocating “meaningfully curtail illicit crypto activity” used to fund such organizations. Warren said on December 6 that North Korea funded half of its missile development with “proceeds of crypto crime.”
Hamas' attacks on Israel have hastened the need for the U.S. to counter the role crypto plays in financing terrorism. Our bipartisan bill expands sanctions to cover all terrorist organizations—including Hamas—and addresses threats involving digital assets.https://t.co/MO1AnobhCg— Senator Mitt Romney (@SenatorRomney) December 7, 2023
In October, blockchain analytics firm Elliptic found “no evidence” that Hamas got a lot of money to fund their assaults.