The bill — H.R. 296 — is co-sponsored by Reps. Warren Davidson (R-OH), Stephen Lynch (D-MA), Byron Donalds (R-FL), and Darren Soto (D-FL) and was introduced on Wednesday.
Apart from creating the task force, the bill also seeks to: “Provide rewards for information leading to convictions related to terrorist use of digital currencies, to establish a Fintech Leadership in Innovation and Financial Intelligence Program to encourage the development of tools and programs to combat terrorist and illicit use of digital currencies, and for other purposes.”
Following the introduction, the bill was referred to the Committee on Financial Services and the Committee on the Budget for preliminary deliberations. Rep. Budd is a known supporter of crypto and blockchain in Congress. In 2019, Rep. Budd championed the call for greater clarity in the country’s crypto tax laws. He also introduced a couple of bills to the house aimed at improving the regulatory standard of the industry in the U.S.
While Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism continue to be a major anti-crypto talking point for several government agencies, cryptocurrency forensic data points to limited adoption of virtual currencies by terrorist organizations. Back in May 2020, blockchain intelligence outfit Chainalysis debunked claims that ISIS owned about $300 million in Bitcoin.
However, the U.S. Justice Department has reportedly seized crypto funds allegedly belonging to ISIS and Al-Qaeda terrorist networks. In June 2020, reports also emerged that ISIS-affiliated media platforms were collecting donations in Monero, a popular privacy coin.
Meanwhile, Chainalysis has published a report stating that some participants in the recent riot at the U.S. Capitol received large Bitcoin donations from a French computer programmer a month before the incident. According to the crypto forensics firm, the donor, now deceased, had a history of supporting causes that espoused far-right political and social ideologies.
U.S. law enforcement officials are reportedly investigating the possible links between the donations and the planning of the riot.