Crypto Wars: Balancing Privacy versus National Security
Senior officials in the Administration have expressed concern about cryptocurrencies being used for criminal activity and undermining the dollar as the global reserve currency. These concerns have been heightened with the Russian invasion of Ukraine, evasion of sanctions including North Korean sanctions, cyberattacks, and ransomware. Others contend that blockchain transactions are easier to trace than physical cash, and that the Administration’s concerns are exaggerated and could stifle innovation. China has banned cryptocurrencies and developed its own central bank digital currency (CBDC). It appears that the digital yuan will be used by the Chinese government for surveillance purposes to closely monitor personal transactions and behavior. A number of other regimes, including Canada, have used the banking and monetary system to silence dissidents. Some say that dissidents and citizens in countries that have unstable fiat currencies have turned to bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to escape the national currency and protect their rights; other say cryptocurrencies are used by criminals and terrorists.
This very timely panel discussed whether the US can develop policies on digital assets that both protect freedom and privacy and maintain our safety from bad actors, and what the trade-offs with the dollar’s international role might be.
Head of Regulatory
Vice President of Regulatory Affairs
Vice President and Director, Center for Monetary and Financial Alternatives
Counsel, Government Affairs and Strategy
Federalist Society’s Corporations, Securities, & Antitrust Practice Group