“We should prohibit U.S. persons from buying or mining cryptocurrencies,” says Rep. Brad Sherman
A Congressional Financial Services Committee meeting today turned alarmingly hostile to cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology as a whole.
This hostility stemmed initially from Democratic Representative Brad Sherman, who stated,”We should prohibit U.S. persons from buying or mining cryptocurrencies.”
According to a senior political journalist from Politico in attendance at the meeting, Rep. Sherman believed that mining is so exceptionally energy intensive and that it’s so much much more environmentally damaging than it’s potential utility is worth and thus, that the government should ban it to eliminate the possibility of further destruction.
Importantly, but likely not coincidentally, is the fact that Rep. Sherman’s biggest campaign contributor was a credit card processing company.
The company is Ally Wallet, which describes itself as, “The preferred online merchant services company and online global payment gateway solution for businesses that need to accept online payments.”
Unfortunately, Rep. Sherman’s utterances were not the only anti-cryptocurrency statements at the hearing. Specifically, Alex Pollock, a fellow from the Pro-Free Market think R Street Institute, stated his view that, “a central bank virtual currency is one of the worst ideas in recent times.”
When this is combined with Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s comments earlier this week that, “a Fed-backed cryptocurrency is not something we’re looking at”, it paints a picture of a government increasingly alarmed by the growing use of cryptocurrencies in general.
Chairman Powell, also raised an issue with Bitcoin’s use in money laundering and other financial fraud. He elaborated further by stating that “there are too few places taking crypto as payment and the value is too volatile to be a stable store of value. Cryptocurrencies undermine the U.S. sanctions regime against terrorists/adversaries.” Powell concluded when pressed that he saw, “more risks and concerns in cryptocurrency than in its potential use.”
Additionally, at the same meeting, Representative Ryan Peterson stated that “I’m someone who believes we should still be on the gold standard and I think we need to audit the Fed because I don’t trust them.” Rep. Peterson also allegedly stated his belief at the meeting that, “digital currencies are Ponzi schemes.”
It is somewhat alarming in the opinion of this analyst that an ignorant consensus seems to be forming in the upper echelons of government that views cryptocurrency as inherently a threat to their power, and that as a result it must be stopped.
Luckily, there was some pushback from a representative of “Bitcoin University”, albeit after the meeting. This individual confronted Rep. Andy Barr, who is a Financial Services Committee member, and exclaimed that “he needed to bring more Bitcoin experts into the next hearing.”
Whether these combined statements is ultimately reflective of a US federal policy shift remains to be seen. But for proponents of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, they serve as a reminder that those in positions of power will not lose their status without a fight.