Why Elizabeth Warren Is Wrong About Crypto and the Fentanyl Epidemic
Featured story is an opinion piece by CoinDesk's Daniel Kuhn. Our piece today is entitled, Why Elizabeth Warren is Wrong about Crypto and the Fentanyl Epidemic. For a while, crypto's role in the illegal and gray area drug trade seemed swept under the rug, or at least it was not getting the attention it could have, which is good and which the Fed shuttered back in 2013. It's good because some people have a tendency to moralize about drug use, and the less crypto is linked to crime in general, the less the entire industry will be stigmatized. However, it would arguably be better to be upfront about such things, assuming they're going on, as data now suggests. If crypto ever has a shot at finding a killer use case, or mass user base who understands why blockchains are important. U .S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat from Massachusetts, is calling for a greater crypto crackdown following new research from blockchain analytics firms Chainalysis and Elliptic that found Bitcoin and Tether, or USDT, have become cornerstone to the global fentanyl trade. These are the same research companies that put out annual reports showing a fraction of a fraction of crypto transactions can be tied to illicit use. Quote, crypto is helping fund the fentanyl trade and we have the power to shut that down, Warren said, continuing, it's time. End quote. The Senator is a longtime critic of crypto, who recently made an incomprehensible anti -crypto army campaign part of her re -election bid. But does the Senator have a point? I already know what the crypto faithful will say. Chainalysis estimates less than 1 % of total crypto transactions are related to crime, so it doesn't matter if Chainalysis is now saying there's evidence. At least $37 .8 million worth of crypto was sent to drug manufacturers in China since 2018. But hold that thought, we'll get back to it. First, let's try to place crypto's alleged use for drug sales in the context of the global drug trade. To start, it's difficult to judge just how large the fentanyl economy is, because it is, by nature, kept mostly out of sight. But if Chainalysis and ellipsis figures are to be meaningful, they need context. According to one source Chainalysis cited, total quote chemical exports, end quote, from China, assumed by most authorities to be the largest manufacturer and exporter of black and gray market drugs, surpassed $100 billion in 2021 alone.