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Sen. Mark Warner. Photo: Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images

Two members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), called on Sunday for greater regulation of cryptocurrencies in order to crack down on ransomware payments from cyberattacks.

Why it matters: Last month's hacking of the Colonial Pipeline underscored the nation's vulnerability to large scale ransomeware attacks and increased attention to the importance of cybersecurity.

Be smart: Cryptocurrencies allow users to make payments anonymously and can make cybercriminals harder to trace. Ransomware payments through cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin have also been on the rise.

What they're saying: Warner, the Intelligence Committee chairman, acknowledged that there can be some benefits to crypto, but noted that "we are seeing now some of the dark underbelly."

  • "We do need higher cybersecurity standards," he said in his appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press."
  • "That's why I'm focusing more on transparency...if a company is paying, if there's not some transparency of that payment, the bad guys will simply find another way to hide it," Warner said.

Blunt argued that cryptocurrency regulation is needed to ensure these types of transactions don't remain "behind the scenes" of the U.S. financial system.

  • "We have a lot of cash requirements in our country, but we haven't figured out in the country or in the world how to trace cryptocurrency," he said.
  • "[Y]ou can't trace the ransomware — the ransom payment of choice now. And we've got to do a better job here."

Go deeper: U.S. plans crypto crackdown.

Go deeper

Senate sergeant-at-arms: Cyber attack against Congress "keeps me up at night"

Karen Gibson, Senate sergeant-at-arms, speaking during a Senate subcommittee hearing during April 2021. Photo: Greg Nash/The Hill/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Karen Gibson told CNN she fears a cyber attack against Congress more than violence at the Capitol similar to the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Why it matters: Gibson said Friday that hackers attempt intrusions into Congress' computer networks "every single day" and that a state-backed cyber unit could cripple the government's ability to function by compromising communications networks.

El Salvador's president announces plan to make bitcoin legal tender

El Salvador's President Nayib Bukele in the Legislative Assembly building in San Salvador, El Salvador, last Tuesday. Photo: Camilo Freedman/Bloomberg via Getty Images

El Salvador's President Nayib Bukele said Saturday he will send a bill to the Central American country's Congress next week to make bitcoin legal tender.

Why it matters: If the legislation is passed by lawmakers, El Salvador would become the first country to formally adopt the digital currency.

Exclusive: Quartz, NYT vets launch new media company about work

Photo credit: Emma Howells for Charter

Quartz co-founders Kevin Delaney and Jay Lauf, along with New York Times veteran Erin Grau, are launching a new media and services company called "Charter" that is centered around the future of work, the founders told Axios.

Why it matters: "There are other media companies that write about this topic — some occasionally and some more frequently, but it's one topic among many things that they do," Delaney said. "This is a driving focus for us."