Several United States Congressmen spent the better part of yesterday (July 18, 2018) discussing issues relating to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The lawmakers examined matters concerning mining, criminal activities, and regulations. As expected, some of the less tech-savvy Congressmen showed a real lack of understanding of the crypto space.
The legislative arm of the United States government has taken a more serious approach to the cryptocurrency market since the turn of the year. There have been many meetings throughout 2018 in both the Senate and the House about blockchain and virtual currencies.
Ban Bitcoin Mining in the United States
The House Financial Services Committee had a few colorful remarks about cryptos during its session yesterday. The committee had gathered to explore the potential uses of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin in both the U.S. and international markets. However, some committee members seemed more intent on bashing cryptocurrencies than anything else.
Rep. Brad Sherman (Dem-Calif) called for cryptocurrency mining to be prohibited in the country, saying:
W”e 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.”
Following Sherman’s logic, any energy-intensive process should be outlawed in the United States. Even on the subject of Bitcoin mining’s electricity consumption, much of the noise about extreme electricity usage is factually incorrect. There is no constant amount of electricity required to mine Bitcoin–it varies from location to location across the globe.
Another member of the committee, Rep. Rick Allen said:
“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.”
The millions of unbanked and underbanked people around the world currently gaining access to financial liberation via Bitcoin-based remittance would strongly disagree with Allen’s remarks. Countries presently undergoing severe economic crisis like Venezuela and Zimbabwe will also say that Bitcoin trumps petrodollar right about now.
Cryptocurrencies Support Criminal Activities
As is the norm, the discussion soon dovetailed into crypto’s use in criminal activities like tax evasion, money laundering, and terrorist financing. However, in his closing remarks, the committee chairman, K. Michael Conway touched upon a vital piece of information that is mostly under-reported by Bitcoin critics, saying:
“As long as the stupid criminals keep using bitcoin, we’ll be great.”
Bitcoin offers only pseudo-anonymity as it is possible to trace funds on the blockchain. This isn’t the case with more privacy-centric coins like Monero and Zcash. Recently, special counsel Robert Mueller indicted a dozen Russian operatives who are accused of using Bitcoin to finance their meddling in the 2016 U.S. Presidential elections.
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