Two separate House Committees spent Wednesday (July 18, 2018) rambling on about Bitcoin and cryptocurrency. The summary of it all is that the United States elected officials do not know much about the emerging technology.
Interested in Cryptocurrencies
Members of the House Committee on Agriculture were the first to deliberate on issues in the cryptocurrency market. The session was called to examine the future of the emerging virtual currency space. Speaking during the meeting, chairman of the Committee, Republican Congressman, K. Michael Conaway representing Texas, said:
This hearing will shed light on the promise of digital assets and the regulatory challenges facing this new asset class. Our committee has a deep interest in promoting strong markets for commodities of all types, including those emerging through new technology.
Bitcoin Mining Should Be Banned in the U.S.
While the first House Committee to deliberate on cryptocurrency yesterday had a more nuanced approach to cryptos, the second House Committee went off the rails. The House Financial Services Committee had a session to examine the potential uses of virtual currencies in both the domestic and global market.
One of the members of the Committee, Rep. Brad Sherman, a Democratic Congressman representing California bashed Bitcoin. According to Sherman:
We should prohibit U.S. persons from buying or mining cryptocurrencies. Mining alone uses electricity which takes away from other needs and-or adds to the carbon footprint. As a store, as a medium of exchange, cryptocurrency accomplishes nothing except facilitating narcotics trafficking, terrorism, and tax evasion.
Sherman parrots the same inaccurate assertions as other Bitcoin naysayers. First of all, there is no absolute scale to measure the amount of electricity needed for Bitcoin mining. It varies from one area to another. Secondly, research has shown that illegal activities only account for less than one percent of the total Bitcoin transactions.
Cryptocurrencies Create Another Money Supply
Another Committee member, Rick Allen also issued his take on the matter, saying;
We’re creating another money supply here as I see it. I just don’t know how that works. Our dollar sets the mark for the world. I can’t visualize how this would work.
Not everyone on the Committee was on the crypto bashing brigade. Conaway in his closing remarks seems to present BTC as a much better option than the more privacy-focused cryptos like Verge and Monero. According to Conaway:
As long as the stupid criminals keep using bitcoin, we’ll be great.
Conaway seemed to be referring to the fact that it is much easier to track transactions on the Bitcoin blockchain which offers pseudo-anonymity unlike with privacy-centric blockchains that provide complete transaction obfuscation.
In a related development, Congressman, Emanuel Cleaver recently called on FinCEN to carry out robust investigations into the use of cryptocurrencies in criminal activities. This call followed the revelation that Russian agents used Bitcoin to finance their meddling in the 2016 U.S. Presidential elections.
Do you think the people in Congress understand what the cryptocurrency market is all about or are they spreading FUD? Let us know your views in the comment section below.
Image courtesy of Twitter (@BradSherman).