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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

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Sep 8, 2021 - Economy & Business

El Salvador's bitcoin experiment has rocky start after sell-off

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

It was a rocky start: Bitcoin suffered a disorderly sell-off on Tuesday, alongside most other cryptocurrencies, to mark the day on which it officially became legal tender in El Salvador, along with the more widely accepted U.S. dollar.

Why it matters: While a 17% daily swing is far from unprecedented for bitcoin, it's not the kind of thing most citizens want from their currencies. Neither is having a payments mechanism that can be unplugged by the government at will.

CCP releases two jailed Canadians after Huawei CFO deal with DOJ

Photo: Sheldon Cooper/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Two Canadians imprisoned by the Chinese government for over 1,000 days have been released and are expected to arrive in Canada on Saturday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday.

Why it matters: Their release comes hours after Huawei Technologies CFO Meng Wanzhou reached a deal with the U.S. Department of Justice that resolves the criminal charges against her and could pave the way for her to return to China.

Updated 16 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Arizona GOP's private recount of 2020 election confirms Biden's win

Contractors working on behalf of the GOP examine and recount 2020 ballots at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix in May. Photo: Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images

In an odd coda to the 2020 election, private contractors conducting a GOP-commissioned recount in Arizona confirmed President Biden’s win in Maricopa County.

Why it matters: The unofficial, party-driven recount has been heavily covered on cable news as part of former President Trump's continued effort to sow doubt about the election result.