As per allegations from the Wall Street Journal, the US Treasury under the Biden government wants to implement anti-ransomware penalties that target the utilization of digital currencies.
It’s possible that criminals and exchanges will be targeted
Although Treasury officials have not remarked on the proposal, analysts believe the Treasury intends to develop penalties that target specific people and wallets instead of the whole digital currency ecosystem.
Nevertheless, fines against exchanges that have processed ransomware payments may be imposed. According to the Wall Street Journal, this may “destroy that company’s capacity to conduct business” and “frighten other digital currency exchanges into avoiding similar transactions.”
The guidelines have been in the works since the Treasury warned firms in October 2020 that enabling ransomware payments may result in fines and penalties. In April 2021, a working group was formed.
Insiders say the penalties may go into force as early as next week, but no firm date has been set.
In 2020, $400 million was earned by ransomware
The reach of ransomware keeps expanding. In 2020, ransomware sufferers spent upwards of $400 million in bitcoin, as per Chainalysis, a blockchain analytics company.
This is more than four times the level taken by cybercriminals in 2019 when they got $93 million.
Attempts against the US Colonial pipeline and the meat company JBS Foods are two recent high-profile examples. In October 2020, several hospitals were also attacked.