United States legislators have discussed the possibility of banning cryptos as a solution to the increasing ransomware attacks that affected various US institutions in May 2021. Their opinions on this matter seem to be mixed.
The biggest fuel pipeline in the country was brought to a stop in early May when hackers breached the computer networks of Colonial Pipeline. Food packing firm JBS was hit with a similar attack that paralyzed its operations. Colonial Pipeline has since paid around $4.4 million in ransom.
Democratic Senator Mark Warner addressed this matter in NBC News’ Meet the Press program on June 6. In the interview, it was put to the legislator by reporter Chuck Todd that banning cryptos entirely may stop the growing trend where the criminals demand ransom in BTC and other cryptos.
Warner disagreed with the idea that cryptocurrency should be banned wholly, saying that good things had come out of the distributed ledger technology (DLT), but that its dark underbelly was now getting exposed extensively. He stated:
“I’ve got a lot of questions about crypto. There were some good things coming out of distributed ledger technology, but we are now seeing some of the dark underbelly […] and that’s why I’m focusing more on transparency.”
Warner alleged that certain crypto ‘systems’ might already be breached by the authorities in case they wanted to do it. Nevertheless, he said that stopping the technology might just redirect criminals towards various technologies. Warner added:
“The truth is there are ways that we can break through some of these systems, but […] if there’s not some transparency of that payment, the bad guys will simply find another way to hide it.”
Republican Senator Roy Blunt said that cryptos should not be left to run behind the scenes of criminal activities, mentioning that crypto had turned into the main tool of ransomware attackers due to its untraceable nature and ease of use. Blunt explained:
“We have a lot of cash requirements in our country, but we haven’t figured out in the country or in the world how to trace cryptocurrency. So, one, fairly easy to do. People almost always pay the ransom. There are very few consequences. And you can’t trace the ransomware — the ransom payment of choice now. And we’ve got to do a better job here.”