Here’s what happened in crypto today


A group of bipartisan United States senators have introduced legislation to tackle crypto’s alleged role in terrorism financing. Meanwhile, Kazakhstan has blocked 980 unlicensed crypto exchanges in 2023 and started nine investigations into illegal exchange operations and money laundering, and former Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao has been ordered to remain in the United States until his sentencing in February.

U.S. senators target crypto in anti-terrorism financing bill

Republican and Democratic lawmakers in the United States Senate have introduced legislation to counter crypto’s alleged role in financing terrorism.

On Dec. 7, Senators Jack Reed, Mark Warner, Mike Rounds and Mitt Romney announced the introduction of the Terrorism Financing Prevention Act. The bill aims to expand sanctions to include parties funding designated terrorist organizations with crypto or fiat.

Senator Rounds said:

“It is critical that the Department of the Treasury has the necessary counter-terrorism tools to combat modern threats. The Terrorism Financing Prevention Act takes commonsense steps toward rooting out terrorism by sanctioning foreign financial institutions and foreign digital asset companies that assist them in committing these heinous acts.”

The bill would also allow the U.S. Treasury to prohibit any transaction with a “foreign digital asset transaction facilitator” that’s under sanctions. 

In October, the Treasury sanctioned a Gaza-based crypto operator with alleged ties to Hamas.

Kazakhstan blocked 980 unlicensed crypto exchanges in 2023

In 2023, Kazakhstan’s Financial Monitoring Agency (FMA) blocked access to almost a thousand crypto exchanges serving the country’s citizens without proper registration. 

According to a Dec. 7 press release published on the government’s website, the FMA denied access to 980 illegal platforms in 2023. It also launched nine investigations into “illegal exchange operations” and money laundering. 

The Digital Assets Law, enacted in February 2023, prohibits creating and trading digital currencies and cryptocurrency exchange activities unless a national license is obtained. 

The list of unlicensed exchanges blocked includes some major international platforms. In November, it was revealed that Kazakh citizens could not access the Coinbase website after an order from the Ministry of Culture and Information blocked it. 

To date, Binance, Bybit, CaspianEx, Biteeu, ATAIX, Upbit and Xignal&MT have been approved to operate in the country.

Binance founder CZ must stay in U.S. until sentencing, judge orders

Binance founder CZ has been ordered to stay in the United States until his sentencing in February, with a federal judge determining there’s too much of a flight risk if the former exchange CEO is allowed to return to the United Arab Emirates.

On Dec. 7, Seattle District Court Judge Richard Jones ordered Zhao to stay in the U.S. until his Feb. 23, 2024 sentencing date.

“The defendant has enormous wealth and property abroad, and no ties to the United States,” Judge Jones wrote, agreeing with earlier arguments from federal prosecutors who said they “would not be able to secure his return” if Zhao decided not to return to the United States.

“His family resides in the UAE and it appears that he has favored status in the UAE. Under these circumstances the Court finds that the defendant has not established by clear and convincing evidence that he is not likely to flee if he returns to the UAE,” Judge Jones added.

This article does not contain investment advice or recommendations. Every investment and trading move involves risk, and readers should conduct their own research when making a decision.