Washington, DC – Today, Representatives Gregory W. Meeks and Michael McCaul, Chair and Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, introduced the Russia Cryptocurrency Transparency Act, bipartisan legislation that would exercise oversight of the State Department’s use of cryptocurrency as part of its rewards program, as well as measures to improve the efficacy and enforcement of U.S. sanctions against Russia.
The Russia Cryptocurrency Transparency Act would:
- Require the State Department to notify Congress when it pays out rewards in cryptocurrencies to ensure that the Department is not providing bad actors with additional hard-to-trace funds that could be used for illicit purposes;
- Authorize the State Department to appoint a Director of Digital Currency Security in the State Department’s Office of Economic Sanctions Policy and Implementation, in which role the Director would assist in developing sanctions enforcement mechanisms resilient to malevolent actors’ use of digital currencies;
- Require a report from the State Department, in consultation with the Treasury Department and USAID, on how blockchain usage could facilitate access to humanitarian aid administered by the United States to Ukrainian persons;
- Require the State Department, in consultation with the Treasury Department, to submit to Congress a report assessing how digital currencies could impact the effectiveness and enforcement of the United States sanctions regime against Russian actors.
A PDF of the legislation can be found here.“While the rise of digital assets like cryptocurrencies promise innovative financial opportunity, digital assets could be ripe for abuse as Russia seeks to evade the unprecedented sanctions the United States has imposed for Vladimir Putin’s brutal war of choice on Ukraine. This legislation will provide greater oversight over the State Department’s rewards program, helping ensure these hard-to-trace funds are not falling in the hands of bad actors. It also will help the State Department develop sanctions enforcement mechanisms to prevent sanctions evasion through use of crypto currencies. Given the tremendous need for humanitarian support as Europe faces the largest influx of refugees since World War 2, the legislation also asks State to assess how crypto can be used to support humanitarian assistance to Ukrainians fleeing the war,” said Chairman Gregory W. Meeks.
"Emerging technologies like blockchain, the foundation for many cryptocurrencies, offer immense opportunities. Most recently, people around the world sent aid using cryptocurrency to those fleeing Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. However, this bill will ensure the U.S. is taking the necessary steps to prevent these emerging technologies from undermining sanctions, including those currently aimed at bankrupting Putin’s war machine,” said Ranking Member Michael McCaul.