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‘Pass stablecoin legislation now:’ Exec on concerns over illicit financing 

2min Read

Does the surge in stablecoin usage hint at urgent legislation to combat illicit finance and address terrorist exploitation?

 "Pass stablecoin legislation now": Exec on concerns over illicit financing 

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  • Coinbase CLO urges swift action to address illicit finance concerns.
  • U.S. Treasury Deputy Secretary highlights increasing terrorist reliance on virtual assets.

Stablecoins play a pivotal role in linking traditional fiat currencies with the digital asset space, offering a fixed value typically pegged to the U.S. dollar. However, as demand for stablecoins rises, so does the concern over illicit financing. 

Remarking on the same, Coinbase’s Chief Legal Officer (CLO), Paul Grewal in his recent X (formerly Twitter) post noted, 

“One thing is clear: if we are serious about addressing the small percentage of IF (illicit finance) conducted with digital assets, pass stablecoin legislation now.”

The involvement of politics and terrorist groups  

The Coinbase exec’s remarks came in light of the news that Senate Banking Committee is set to hold a hearing on combating illicit finance, terrorism, and sanctions evasion on the 9th of April. 

Underscoring the importance of addressing key issues without the involvement of politics, Grewal noted, 

“US security interests are served by centering dollar-denominated stablecoins in the home of the dollar.  Reserve management rules, redemption rights and all that aren’t hard to address if we have the will to do more than politic.”

Additionally addressing the misuse of cryptocurrencies by terrorist groups Adewale O. Adeyemo, Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Treasury Department in a written testimony elaborated, 

“Five years ago, al-Qaeda and affiliated terrorist groups, largely based out of Syria, operated a bitcoin money laundering network using social media platforms to solicit cryptocurrency donations.”

He further added, 

“More recently, over the past year, we have seen the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) transfer cryptocurrency to Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) in Gaza.” 

This highlights that while terrorists currently lean toward traditional financial channels, the absence of Congressional action may fuel their increasing reliance on virtual assets.

Stablecoins instead of Bitcoin ETF 

Amidst the growing demand for stablecoin legislation, Markus Thielen, founder of 10x Research, in a report dated 8th of April highlighted. 

“We suggest paying less attention to the bitcoin ETF flows. Stablecoin issuers are the new sheriff in town, driving this market higher.”

As of the latest update from Forbes, the market capitalization of stablecoins stands at $155.55 billion, with a slight drop of 0.01% in 24 hours. Additionally, over the last day, Tether’s market capitalization increased by 0.25%, while USDC experienced a decline of 1.16%. 

This underscores the surge in stablecoin supply signaling rising demand. Does this indicate a bullish crypto market overpowering Bitcoin ETF inflows? 



Ishika is a graduate of Political Science from the University of Delhi. From writing content as a hobby to now pursuing it as a professional career, she has been living and breathing content all her life. Her interests lie in making sure articles are very digestible to a common reader, despite all its technicalities and jargons.
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