Yaya J. Fanusie is an Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). His research focuses on the national security implications of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. Yaya spent seven years as both an economic and counterterrorism analyst in the CIA, where he regularly briefed federal law enforcement, U.S. military personnel, and White House-level policy makers—including President George W. Bush whom he personally briefed on terrorism threats. In 2009, he spent three months in Afghanistan providing analytic support to senior military officials.
After leaving government service, Yaya worked for a small consulting firm focused on financial asset recovery cases involving global corruption. Later, as director of analysis at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance, Yaya led research work on sanctions evasion, terrorist financing, and Bitcoin money laundering. Yaya has testified before Congress multiple times on illicit financing issues. He has appeared on CNN, Fox News, and has been quoted in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post. Yaya blogs at Forbes and is a frequent public speaker on cryptocurrencies and U.S. national security.
Yaya is founder of Cryptocurrency AML Strategies, an advisory firm that helps financial institutions and technology firms address money laundering and terrorist financing risks associated with digital assets. In 2018, he developed and taught an Introduction to Blockchain Technology course at Morgan State University in Baltimore.
Yaya received an MA in International Affairs from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and a BA in Economics from UC Berkeley.