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U.S. Treasury sanctions crypto exchange SUEX

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Yahoo Finance's Jennifer Schonberger breaks down what the sanctions from the U.S. Treasury could mean for cryptocurrencies.

Video Transcript

[MUSIC PLAYING]

ADAM SHAPIRO: Seana, major crypto headlines today. The US government, the US Treasury Department, announcing steps it's taking to protect companies from cyber hackers who demand payment or ransom in the form of cryptocurrencies. Let's bring in our correspondent, Jennifer Schonberger to describe what's at stake and what's happening because there was a pretty big move regarding one foreign exchange, right?

JENNIFER SCHONBERGER: That's right, Adam. Good afternoon. US Treasury taking major action today to discourage future ransomware attacks. Officials sanctioning a Russian-owned cryptocurrency exchange known as Suex. Now, over 40% of the known historical transactions on this cryptocurrency exchange have been associated with bad actors.

Now, Suex essentially helps ransomware attackers cash out their ill-gotten gains after the attack, organizations like the ones we saw earlier this year on our infrastructure, like Colonial Pipeline. Recall, it's one of the biggest fuel pipelines in the US. It cost the company more than $4 million in Bitcoin and caused the pipeline to shut down for a period of time.

Now, Chainalysis Public Sector CTO, Gurvais Grigg tells me that this action is significant because it's aimed at dismantling the actual infrastructure. Instead of sanctioning one bad actor and then they're gone, and then another one pops up. This really gets at the spigot. It really gets at the core.

And this is the first time that the US Treasury has sanctioned a cryptocurrency exchange and it certainly doesn't seem like it will be the last. Treasury Secretary Yellen saying more sanctions should be expected. Saying in a statement that "Treasury will continue to crack down on malicious actors." Officials planning to continue ferreting out cryptocurrency exchanges or other parts of the ransomware ecosystem, as well as considering other actions that could be taken outside of sanctions. Now, Adam, the White House has scheduled a meeting with international partners to work on future actions together to prevent future ransomware attacks. Back to you.

ADAM SHAPIRO: I should point out, by the way, that we're welcoming Jennifer Schonberger to the team. And for those of you who know her work from other networks, she's covered the Treasury, the Federal Reserve, Capitol Hill. She knows where the bodies are buried in Washington, DC. So you want to pay attention to what Jennifer writes. And you can find her article at yahoofinance.com. It's good to have you aboard, Jennifer, and good to see you.