WASHINGTON – U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Wednesday warned about an “explosion of threat” from digital markets, together with the misuse of cryptocurrencies, however stated new monetary applied sciences may additionally assist struggle crime and scale back inequality.
In remarks to a monetary sector innovation roundtable, Yellen stated such applied sciences might be used to stem the circulate of darkish cash from organized crime and struggle again in opposition to hackers, but in addition to cut back digital gaps in america.
She stated passage of the Anti-Cash Laundering Act in December would enable the Treasury Division to transform a framework for combating illicit finance that has been largely unchanged for the reason that Seventies.
“The replace couldn’t have come at a greater time,” Yellen advised policymakers, regulators and personal sector specialists. “We’re residing amidst an explosion of threat associated to fraud, cash laundering, terrorist financing, and knowledge privateness.”
The COVID-19 pandemic had triggered extra — and extra subtle — cyberattacks aimed toward hospitals, faculties, banks, and the federal government itself, she stated.
Cryptocurrencies and digital belongings provided promise, however they’d additionally been used to launder the earnings of on-line drug traffickers and to finance terrorism.
Innovation within the sector may assist handle these issues whereas giving tens of millions of individuals entry to the monetary system, she stated.
Yellen, who has promised to prioritize preventing inequality and disparities, stated the pandemic had uncovered big issues, together with the dearth of broadband entry in lots of areas of the nation.
She stated accountable and equitable innovation may make an enormous distinction.
“Innovation shouldn’t simply be a defend to guard in opposition to dangerous actors. Innovation must also be a ladder to assist extra folks climb to the next high quality of life,” she stated.