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Senate slips crypto provisions into must-pass defence bill

Senate slips crypto provisions into must-pass defence bill
Regulations authored by Senator Elizabeth Warren have been added to must-pass legislation.
  • The US Senate is expected to pass legislation this week that includes crypto-focused anti-money laundering provisions
  • But Congress is split, and there’s no guarantee the language will pass the House version of the bill

Crypto-focused anti-money laundering legislation has entered the US Senate’s version of the annual defence budget, DL News has learned.

According to three sources with knowledge of the matter, Senate leadership has greenlit an amendment to the the National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, that would mandate new AML guidelines from federal regulators.

The NDAA is a massive, must-pass piece of legislation that is currently being rallied between the House and Senate.

In addition to requiring reports from federal agencies — which range from the Drug Enforcement Agency to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network —  the bill sets new rules that require crypto ATMs to gather identifying information on their users. Crypto ATM operators would also need to report to the government on all locations in operation.

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The version of the NDAA incorporating the amendment is likely to pass in the Senate, which is set to vote on the bill this week. The provisions within the amendment would become some of precious few that pertain to crypto to have passed either chamber.

Congress is currently split, however, with Republicans controlling the House and Democrats controlling the Senate. The defence bill has been subject to a particularly contentious tug of war this year: the House passed its own version of the bill on July 14th with the support of only four Democratic congress members.

The amendment is itself an interestingly bipartisan project. Its sponsors are Cynthia Lummis, a Republican from Wyoming; Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat from New York; Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat from Massachusetts; and Roger Marshall, a Republican from Kansas.

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The sponsors are notable for spanning both the political spectrum and relationship to crypto. For the better part of a decade, Warren has been one of the Senate’s most outspoken crypto critics. Lummis, meanwhile, was the first Senator to disclose crypto holdings and once declared “God bless Bitcoin” from the Senate floor.

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Lummis and Gillibrand have been working in tandem on crypto issues for years, most notably with the Responsible Financial Innovation Act. That legislation is significantly more pro-crypto than Warren and Marshall’s earlier work on know-your-customer rules, which many in the industry saw as an attack on core privacy provisions.

The authors of the amendment have described it as a combination of elements from those disparate pieces of legislation.

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