Elizabeth Warren's Focus on Bitcoin Mining in Iran

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren raises concerns about cryptocurrency mining in Iran, claiming it finances terrorist groups. In a joint letter with Sen.

May 4, 2024 - 10:37
May 3, 2024 - 15:20
Elizabeth Warren's Focus on Bitcoin Mining in Iran
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U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren has again expressed concern about cryptocurrency's potential dangers, this time pointing to crypto mining operations in Iran. She claims these activities help finance Hamas and other terrorist groups worldwide.

In a public letter to the Biden Administration—jointly signed by Sen. Angus King—Warren raised the issue with the secretaries of Defense and Treasury and the White House National Security Advisor. She addressed the administration's actions to

“Combat Iran’s rampant evasion of U.S. and international sanctions through cryptocurrency (crypto) mining."

Warren and King pointed out that “Iran legalized the crypto mining industry in 2019,” and since then, the country has earned millions through mining crypto. This money has been used to buy imports, transfer funds within the country and internationally, and finance Hamas and other terrorist groups.

“This ongoing activity by the Iranian government threatens our national security,” The senators remarked.

The letter highlighted that mining for energy-intensive blockchains like Bitcoin allows countries to profit from energy resources that they cannot export due to sanctions. This concern was backed up by an April 2022 report from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Warren and King pointed to a Chainalysis report from February 2024. “More than three percent of all inflows to Iranian crypto exchanges—and more than 29% of all Bitcoin inflows—are estimated to come from mining pools,” they stated.

The senators asked the Biden Administration questions about Iran's cryptocurrency activities, including how much revenue Iranian crypto miners have generated since 2021, how much goes to the government or its affiliates, and how these funds support terrorism or military operations.

They also sought information on how the administration is addressing the national security threats posed by Iran's alleged sanction-evading crypto activity.

Unless we take action, Iran will continue to use crypto to fund attacks against Israel,” the senators warned.

The letter to the White House is another part of Warren's ongoing campaign against the use of cryptocurrency for illicit activities.

In December, Warren called for updating the Bank Secrecy Act to deal with the “risk” posed by crypto. She claimed that North Korea uses cryptocurrency to fund its nuclear weapons program. In April, she asked the U.S. Department of Justice and Homeland Security how Congress can help them fight child sexual abuse material (CSAM) funded with cryptocurrency.