• Senator Elizabeth Warren, a leading candidate for the Democratic nomination during the 2020 presidential election, criticized cryptocurrencies during the recent Senate hearing.
  • The Subcommittee Chairwoman asked lawmakers to address issues with digital assets head-on.
  • While Warren suggested the crypto transactions may be more efficient, only regulated digital public money should be accepted. 

During the June 9 Senate hearing on central bank digital currencies, Bitcoin and Dogecoin took the spotlight as United States Senator Elizabeth Warren criticized cryptocurrencies for their role in scams, ransomware attacks and pollution.

US lawmaker makes one of the sharpest criticisms on crypto

US Senator Elizabeth Warren called on lawmakers to tackle issues with cryptocurrencies “head-on” as the adoption of digital assets is on the rise. 

The prominent Wall Street critic and consumer advocate stated that the government must address a host of problems related to the new asset class. 

Subcommittee Chairwoman Warren attacked Bitcoin as the cryptocurrency was involved in recent high-profile ransomware attacks, including those against the Colonial Pipeline and meat producer JBS. The Senator commented: 

“Every hack that is successfully paid off with a cryptocurrency becomes an advertisement for more hackers to try more cyber attacks.”

According to Warren, cryptocurrencies are a “fourth-rate alternative to real currency” since she believes that tthey are a “lousy way” for conducting transactions and a “safe haven for illegal activity.”

Citing the recent Dogecoin price surge, which increased the value of DOGE by tenfold prior to plunging over 60%, the Democrat said:

“That may work for speculators and fly-by-night investors, but not for regular people looking for a regular source of value to get paid in and to use for day-to-day spending.”

The senator also highlighted controversial claims about Bitcoin’s energy use for mining, claiming that the process consumes more energy than the Netherlands. She added that mining has “devastating consequences for the climate.” 

Warren concluded that Congress and federal regulators cannot continue to “hide out” and that it is time to confront issues related to digital assets head-on.

The senator was open to the idea that digital currency transfers are faster compared to the traditional sector. She added:

“But in order for those advantages to be realized, the digital version needs to be secure, stable and accepted everywhere.”

Warren is open to the idea of a central bank digital currency (CBDC) backed by the US government, subject to regulation. “Legitimate digital public money could help drive out bogus digital private money,” the senator said. 

“It could help improve financial inclusion, efficiency, and the safety of our financial system if that digital public money is well-designed and efficiently executed, which are two very big ‘ifs.’”

 

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