U.S. Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) admitted that it would be difficult or impossible to ban bitcoin in the United States. The Senator offered a number of positive comments on bitcoin as he chaired the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs cryptocurrency hearing yesterday.
“If the United States were to decide, and I’m not saying it should, if the United States decided we didn’t want cryptocurrency to happen in the United States, and tried to ban it, I’m pretty confident we couldn’t succeed in doing that because this is a global tech, a global innovation.”
His comments echo Rep. Patrick McHenry who said earlier this month that “there’s no capacity to kill bitcoin.”
Members of Congress are increasingly warming up to bitcoin and beginning to comprehend its unstoppable force.
Senator: Bitcoin has “meaningful benefits”
In his opening statement, Senator Crapo framed bitcoin in a broadly positive light. He said technology leaps are inevitable and the US should take a lead in fostering innovation.
“It seems to me that digital technology innovations are inevitable, could be beneficial, and I believe that the U.S. should lead in developing these innovations and what the rules of the road should be.”
Crapo went on to discuss bitcoin and digital assets directly, suggesting they held meaningful benefits.
“With the appropriate balance of regulation, digital currencies and their innovative underlying technology could provide meaningful benefits and I look forward to learning more about the ecosystem during this hearing.”
Congress flips on bitcoin
July has been a pivotal month for bitcoin on the political stage. Congress hosted a two-day hearing on Facebook’s proposed cryptocurrency Libra earlier this month. Facebook’s project was roundly slammed, but the hearings did unearthed a string of broadly positive comment for bitcoin.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy declared “I like bitcoin,” while criticizing Libra’s centralized ecosystem.
Rep. Patrick McHenry was also open to the digital asset ecosystem and admitted bitcoin was an “unstoppable force.” And of course there was Rep. Warren Davidson (R-Ohio) immortal line: “There’s bitcoin and then there’s shitcoin.”
The general tone from Congress appears to be moving towards sensible regulation. The concept of banning bitcoin outright has generally been dismissed. The next step will focus on what those regulations might look like.
Speaking at the hearing yesterday, Circle’s Jeremy Allaire argued that better clarity from regulators would stop crypto companies moving out of the US.
“There is a fundamental mismatch between the regulatory structure and guidance that we have here (in the U.S.) and the nature of these digital assets. Markets around the world are adopting these, not just Bermuda but Singapore, Switzerland, even jurisdictions like France introducing…definitions of digital assets so that issuers can feel comfortable.”
Bitcoin and digital assets aren’t likely to get a free ride from Congress, but the trend is positive. The hearings throughout July show that Congress is more thoughtful, understanding, and open-minded about bitcoin.