Biden to discuss crypto’s role in ransomware attacks at G7, says national security adviser

United States President Joe Biden will speak directly about cryptocurrency and its role in the attack on the Colonial Pipeline and other ransomware breaches, according to Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan.

In a White House press briefing on Monday, Sullivan said U.S. officials, seemingly including Biden, would like to see an action plan regarding ransomware attacks during the president’s visit to the G-7 summit this weekend. The national security adviser said this plan should address the resilience of such attacks, how to share information with other democracies and “how to deal with the cryptocurrency challenge.”

Sullivan said crypto “lies at the core of how these ransom transactions are played out,” citing cyberattacks as a “national security priority” for the U.S. government — particularly, for “critical infrastructure.” His remarks follow hackers breaching the network behind the Colonial Pipeline in May, reportedly forcing the firm to pay $4.4 million in ransom.

“It’s gotta become a priority on a going forward basis,” said Sullivan, referring to the G-7 addressing such ransomware attacks. He described the issue as a “different order of magnitude of a security threat that the alliance has to concern itself with in a way that it hasn’t historically.”

President Biden has, as an individual, largely been silent on crypto and blockchain both as vice president under former President Barack Obama and during his campaign for office. Last July, then-candidate Biden said he didn’t hold Bitcoin (BTC), following a massive hack that took over high-profile accounts and asked their followers to send crypto.

However, his administration is reportedly reviewing existing rules around crypto and determining whether new restrictions are needed to protect investors following volatility in the market. Since hitting an all-time high price of roughly $65,000 in April, Bitcoin has fallen more than 44% to reach $35,588 at the time of publication.

The G-7 summit is scheduled to be held in the United Kingdom from June 11 to 13. It will be Biden’s first foreign trip acting as U.S. president since his inauguration in January.

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