Letter to Congress

I am a signatory to this letter (PDF), which was organized by The Blockchain Association and signed by cryptocurrency executives who formerly worked as military service members, intelligence officers, and national security professionals.

November 15, 2023

The Honorable French Hill
The Honorable Stephen Lynch
The Honorable Patrick McHenry
The Honorable Maxine Waters
The Honorable Sherrod Brown
The Honorable Tim Scott

Dear Members of Congress:

We are former United States military service members, intelligence officers, and national security professionals who understand first-hand the seriousness of the threats we and our allies face every day. We write today as entrepreneurs and investors working in the digital asset space who wish to address head-on the issue of illicit finance. Our goal is to partner with you to achieve long-term solutions.

On Tuesday, Nov. 28, a group of colleagues intend to visit Capitol Hill to offer their expertise to policymakers and answer questions about the aforementioned issues. They would be honored to meet with you.

We are concerned that recent reporting on Hamas’s use of cryptocurrency, which has been grossly overstated1, debunked2 by its source, and partially corrected3 by its editors, continues to be used4 to push legislation that would be counterproductive5 to U.S. national security interests.

Make no mistake: no funds — in any form — should be used to support organizations or state entities intent on harming people.

The digital asset industry stands firmly with the United States and our leaders in Congress in punishing bad actors and rooting them out of this nascent technology. To do that effectively, we must ensure that the industry develops here on U.S. soil, subject to our laws, regulations, and values, rather than overseas. Some current legislative proposals in Congress would ultimately make the work of law enforcement and national security professionals more difficult.6 Compliance with the proposed measures would push the vast majority of the digital asset industry overseas, providing increased liquidity for unregulated offshore exchanges7, and draining the U.S. of valuable expertise and visibility into the digital asset space.

Blockchain and crypto technology cannot be put back in a box. We now have the ability to transfer value instantly and inclusively around the world without intermediaries or gatekeepers. And while this technology has attracted mostly good actors8 looking to build applications9 for mainstream use10, we acknowledge that at this early development stage, it has also attracted its share of unscrupulous actors. At present, however, transactions involving illicit digital asset addresses represent a very small fraction of total transaction volume, relative to traditional financial methods.

This is a pivotal moment for blockchain technology and the digital asset industry: we must ensure our shared American values remain at their core.

We offer our support to you and stand ready to build toward a future where this technology delivers maximum benefits to society while enhancing U.S. national security.

Respectfully signed,

Faryar Shirzad
Chief Policy Officer, Coinbase
Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economic Affairs (2004-2006)

Michele Korver
Head of Regulatory, a16z Crypto
Former Chief Digital Currency Advisor, FinCEN, U.S. Department of Treasury
Digital Currency Counsel, Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section, U.S. Department of Justice Criminal Division

Liat Shetret
Director of Global Policy and Regulation, Elliptic
Harold Rosenthal Fellow at the House Committee on Homeland Security (2007)
Global Center on Cooperative Security (2008-15; 2016-18)
Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units (2018-19)

Gus Coldebella
Partner, True Ventures
Former General Counsel (acting), U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Christopher Perkins
President, CoinFund
U.S. Naval Academy, Class of 1997
Captain, U.S. Marine Corps (1997-2006)
Ar Ramadi, Iraq veteran (2004-2005) Co-Founder, Veterans on Wall Street (VOWS) Co-Founder, Veterans in Digital Assets (VIDA)

Kyle Schneps
Director of Public Policy, Foundry
Former Officer, Central Intelligence Agency
Former Special Advisor, Special Envoy for Guantanamo Bay Closure, Department of State

Yaya Fanusie
Director of Policy for AML & Cyber Risk
Former CIA Analyst

Alex Pruden
Chief Executive Officer, Aleo Crypto Council for Innovation
Former U.S. Army Infantry & Special Forces Officer, 9 years active service
12-month combat deployment ISO OEF X (2010-2011)
6-month combat deployment ISO OIR | (2014-2015)
6-month deployment to train Free Syrian Army with 5th Special Forces Group (2015-2016)

Chris Grieco
General Counsel, Rain
Former Associate Deputy Attorney General, Department of Justice

Dustin Palmer
Bank Secrecy Act Officer, Anchorage Digital Bank
Former Senior Advisor to the General Counsel, U.S. Department of Treasury
Attorney, Department of Homeland Security

Lee Bratcher
President, Texas Blockchain Council
U.S. Army Captain

Nick Selby
Head of European Underwriting, Evertas
Former Director, Cyber Intelligence and Investigations, Intelligence Bureau, New York Police Department

Ryan Lackey
Chief Security Officer, Evertas
Contractor in Irag/Afghanistan GWOT

Spencer Macdonald
Co-Founder, Spearbit
Former Product Manager, Army Chief Information Officer
Former U.S. Army Field Artillery Officer

Tobias Barbir
Chief Executive Officer and Founder, TheCoinDad LLC
U.S. Army Veteran
Former Department of Defense
Former NC State Government

David Ackerman
Head of Compliance, MobileCoin
Loomis Counsel Member of The Stimson Center
Former FINRA

Dana Hudson
Chief Executive Officer, c6 Strategies LLC
National Security Strategist

Paul Brigner
Head of Policy and Strategic Advocacy, Electric Coin Co.
Former U.S. Army Infantry Soldier

John Bridge
Retired, US Marshals Service Senior/chief inspector of the financial surveillance unit for the U.S. Marshals Service
Former U.S. Marine and Army National Guard
Certified Financial Crimes Investigator and Certified Cyber Crimes Investigator
Charter member of the DC Blockchain Association
Advisor to the North Carolina Blockchain Initiative

Brittany Galli
Chief of Staff, MobileCoin Foundation
Chair - Global Women in Security Community - ASIS

Jonathan Bobb
Head of Fraud and Risk, Unchained
Former Army Officer
Led Army Counter-Threat Finance initiatives for U.S. Army Special Operations Command and the U.S. Army’s Finance and Comptroller schoolhouse (TRADOC)

Dr. David Bray
Distinguished Fellow, Stimson Center
Previously Senior National Intelligence Service Executive (SNIS)

Trent Teyema
President, CSG Strategies, Inc.
U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Special Agent (SES)

Wesley Davison
First Officer, Pilot, Spirit Airlines
Military Intelligence & Aviation Officer
Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army Reserve

Scott Hewitson
Finance Associate, Overclock Labs
Former Finance Officer (O-3), U.S. Air Force

Jason Hall
Chief Executive Officer, Methodic Capital Management
Former noncommissioned officer 2/22nd Infantry, 10th Mountain Division & 1/102nd Infantry Regiment

Elliot David
Head of Climate Strategy, Sustainable Bitcoin Protocol
Sergeant, 101st Battalion, IDF Paratroopers
U.S. Government, Intelligence IGEA, US Department of Energy

Zak Cole
Principal, Number Group
U.S. Marine Corps (retired)

Evan Egger
IT Specialist, First State Bank Nebraska
Former Military Intelligence Captain, US Army

Brent Gerundo
Head of Finance & Operations, Messari
Former Executive Officer, U.S. Army Forward Support Company, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), U.S. Army

Jared Shaw
Chief Financial Officer, Animoca Brands
Former U.S. Air Force Captain

Michael Rowen
Company Commander, U.S. Army Special Forces

Robert Viglione
Chief Executive Officer, Horizen Labs, Inc.
Former Captain, U.S. Air Force

Adrian Hale Director, Foundry
Former Avionics Desk Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps
Former Knowledge Operations Manager, U.S. Air Force Reserves

Rosario Pabst
Chief Operating Officer, Horizen Labs
Captain, Space Command, U.S. Air Force

Christopher Coon
U.S. Air Force, aircraft mechanic

Joseph Corsi
Chief Security Officer, Foundry Digital LLC
Former U.S. Army Intelligence Officer

Nik Hawks
Owner, Gristle King Inc
U.S. Navy sailor
Cryptocurrency consultant to the DePIN sector of blockchain

Devon James Read
Co-Executive Director, Web3 Working Group
Former U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant

Jacob Severn
Product Manager, Ford Credit
U.S. Army
Custodia Bank

1 Chainalysis, Correcting the Record: Inaccurate Methodologies for Estimating Cryptocurrency’s Role in Terrorism Financing, October 18, 2023

2 Elliptic, Setting the record straight on crypto crowdfunding by Hamas, October 25, 2023.

3 Angus Berwick and lan Talley,Hamas Militants Behind Israel Attack Raised Millions in Crypto, The Wall Street Journal October 10, 2023

4 Sean Casten Stopping future crypto-financed terrorism The Hill (October 30, 2023)

5 Yaya J. Fanusie Questioning Two Senators on Crypto Terrorism The Wall Street Journal (October 20, 2023)

6 Statement of Dr. Shlomit Wagman, Combating the Networks of lllicit Finance and Terrorism: Hearing Before the United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, 118th Congress 1 (October 26, 2023)

7 Angus Berwic,The Crypto Exchange Moving Money for Criminal Gangs, Rich Russians and a Hamas- Linked Terror Group” The Wall Street Journal (October 13, 2023)

8 Blockchain Association Crypto. Here for Good

9 Stellar, Making it Real

10 Polygon Labs, Introducing The Value Prop: The Open Database of Blockchain Use Cases (June 15, 2023)