Crypto an Unlikely Route for Russian Sanctions Evasion, Experts Say

Cyberattack ransoms and cryptocurrency mining are unlikely to generate enough revenue to replace regular business activity in sanctioned nations, digital money experts and former law-enforcement officials told a U.S. Senate hearing Thursday.

The amount of cash needed to operate a major economy far outstrips the ability of crypto markets to handle such volumes, witnesses said in testimony to the Senate’s Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.

“You can’t flip a switch overnight and run a G-20 economy on cryptocurrency, there just isn’t enough liquidity,” said

Michael Mosier,

former acting director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, an arm of the U.S. Treasury Department.

The hearing was held as fears grow that Russia may turn to cyberattacks and cryptocurrency to prop up its economy, which has been battered by an array of economic sanctions during its continuing invasion of Ukraine.

On March 11, ratings agency

Moody’s Corp.’s

Investors Service unit warned that banks, crypto platforms and intellectual property could become targets for Russian state-sponsored hackers.

“There is a growing risk that Russian government and nongovernment cyber actors will try to perpetrate cyberattacks on entities across sectors and regions as an illicit means of raising money,” Moody’s said.

At Thursday’s hearing, Sen.

Elizabeth Warren

(D., Mass.) said she was introducing a bill immediately that would authorize the White House and Treasury Department to sanction cryptocurrency firms that do business with already-sanctioned Russian entities. The aim is to close…