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Senator Elizabeth Warren Has One Word for Cryptocurrencies: “Lousy”

Courtesy of Pam Martens

Senator Elizabeth Warren

Senator Elizabeth Warren

Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts chairs the Senate Banking Committee’s Subcommittee on Economic Policy. On Wednesday the Subcommittee held a hearing on a topic that is becoming ever more timely with each new Bitcoin extortion attack on an essential U.S. business. The hearing was titled: “Building A Stronger Financial System: Opportunities of a Central Bank Digital Currency.”

To set the stage for the need for a regulated alternative to the crime network now trafficking in cryptocurrencies, Warren explained all the ways that cryptocurrencies are simply “lousy” for any socially-redeeming purpose. Warren stated:

“Cryptocurrencies have turned out to be a fourth-rate alternative to real currency. First, cryptocurrencies are a lousy way to buy and sell things. Unlike the dollar, their value fluctuates wildly depending on the whims of speculative day traders. You know, in just the last two months, the value of Dogecoin increased by more than ten-fold and then declined by nearly 60 percent. Now that may work for speculators and fly-by-night investors, but not for regular people who are looking for a stable source of value to get paid in and to use for day-to-day spending.

“Second, crypto is a lousy investment. Unlike, say, the stock market, the crypto world currently has no consumer protection — none.  As a result, honest investors and people trying to put aside some savings are at the mercy of fraudsters. Pump and dump schemes are outlawed in the case of ordinary stock, but they have become routine in crypto trading. One study found that the level of price manipulation in cryptocurrency is — and I quote — ‘unprecedented in modern markets.’

“And third, crypto has become a haven for illegal activity. Online theft, drug trafficking, ransom attacks, and other illegal activity have all been made easier with crypto. Experts estimate that last year more than $412 million was paid to criminals in ransom through cryptocurrencies. And unlike other payment systems that make it tougher to move money illegally, a key feature of crypto is its secrecy. So just in the past few weeks, cryptocurrencies made it possible for hackers to collect a ransom to release the Colonial pipeline hack and to free JBS, the world’s largest meat producer, from paralyzing cyberattacks. And every hack that is successfully paid off with a cryptocurrency becomes an advertisement for more hackers to try more cyberattacks.

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