U.S. Senator Rick Scott has urged Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to take action on cryptocurrency scams, which he said have risen 1,000% in the past year and cost consumers at least $80 million. “This is an unregulated industry, and the alarming amount of criminal activity surrounding cryptocurrency demands action,” he told Yellen.
Senator Scott Alerts Janet Yellen to Cryptocurrency Scams
Senator Rick Scott wrote a letter to Treasury Secretary Jenet Yellen on Thursday raising concerns regarding the rising number of scams involving cryptocurrencies. The senator wrote:
I write today with concern about the risks taken by ordinary investors and the significant potential for scams related to cryptocurrency.
He explained that “Cryptocurrency values have fallen drastically over the last few weeks, while reports of scams and fraud have skyrocketed.” Senator Scott cited research by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) stating that cryptocurrency scams have risen 1,000% in the past year and cost consumers more than $80 million, with the median amount consumers lost in the scams of $1,900.
This is an unregulated industry, and the alarming amount of criminal activity surrounding cryptocurrency demands action.
In his letter, the senator asked how the administration plans to “protect consumers and legitimate investors from widespread cryptocurrency scams” and how the Treasury Department will “identify, stop and prevent fraud and scams in initial coin offerings and the purchase and sale of cryptocurrency on U.S. financial markets.”
He also asked about “the administration’s plan to plan to address any legal or regulatory uncertainties that may be causing the unnecessarily turbulent environment for the development and sale of cryptocurrency” and what “additional steps” Congress should take.
Senator Scott also questioned what the administration is “doing to protect cryptocurrency markets from foreign interference by our adversaries, including Communist China and Russia.” In addition, the senator wants to know of “any tools available to the administration that may offer more concrete protection and guidance to investors and innovators on these topics.”
Yellen has herself voiced concerns on several occasions over the use of cryptocurrencies in illicit transactions. She previously said that cryptocurrency was mainly used for illicit financing and promised to work with other federal regulators to come up with an effective regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies.
In February, the treasury secretary named the misuse of cryptocurrencies as a growing problem and stressed the importance of crypto regulation to ensure that bitcoin is not used in illicit transactions. She said the current regulatory framework is not up to the task of regulating cryptocurrencies. Meanwhile, the Biden administration is reportedly working on increased cryptocurrency oversight.
What do you think about Senator Scott asking Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to take action to protect investors against cryptocurrency scams? Let us know in the comments section below.