U.S. Congressman wants courts to ‘reverse’ crypto transactions over ransomware attacks

    01 Jul 2021

    U.S. Congressman Bill Foster has suggested that laws must allow federal courts to identify digital-asset holders and reverse blockchain transactions in Bitcoin and other digital currencies. But it’s doubtful that many crypto investors would like that policy.

    Speaking at a virtual event hosted by Axios on June 29, Bill Foster, U.S. congressman and Democratic Rep for Illinois, warned of growing anti-crypto sentiment among lawmakers.

    “I’m not there yet, but there’s significant sentiment in congress that if you’re participating in an anonymous crypto transaction that you are a de facto participant in a criminal conspiracy,” he said.

    As the co-chair of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus, Foster claimed that the judiciary should have the power to de-anonymize cryptocurrency users and reverse fraudulent or erroneous transactions.

    “You have to be able to go to a court to unmask participants under some circumstances,” he added.

    Foster believes that making it possible to unmask cryptocurrency users could shy the government and U.S. citizens from future ransomware attacks like the one used to extort millions of dollars from Colonial Pipeline, an incident that led to widespread gasoline shortages last month.

    The congressman suggested new laws should require a different form of pseudo-anonymity, wherein a court — that is, a third party — could learn the real-world identity of a cryptocurrency user through a “very heavily guarded key.”

    “I’ve just said about three things there that will drive the crypto purists berserk, like the trusted third party and so on. But in fact, there’s not a technological alternative that I’m aware of,” he said. “For most people, if they’re going to have a big part of their net worth tied up in crypto assets, they’re going to want to have that security blanket of a trusted third party that can solve the problem.”

    As Foster claimed, cryptocurrencies must become compliant with federal regulations and laws to ever become mainstream instruments for conducting payments.

    At the time, most of the crypto community believes that no government can actually prevent its citizens from anonymously buying and selling Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.

    As said Changpeng Zhao, CEO of the world’s largest crypto exchange Binance, at the recent CoinDesk Consensus 2021 virtual conference: “I don’t think anyone can shut it down now, given that this technology, this concept, is in 500 million people’s heads.”

    However, this week, the United Kingdom restricted the use of the Binance exchange in the country, and the impact of that move on crypto space is still unclear.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *