Washington, D.C. — The House Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Securities, and Investment (Committee on Financial Services), on Wednesday, held a hearing entitled “Examining the Cryptocurrencies and ICO Markets.” During the hearing, Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) read a statement that called cryptocurrencies “harmful,” and appeared to accidentally admit that cryptocurrency reduces government control of the dollar.
BitsOnline noted that it’s unclear “whether his most infamous statements during the March 14th crypto hearing were on behalf of, or in the stead of, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY).” Notwithstanding, Sherman spoke assertively while reading the statement.
Sherman began by referring to cryptocurrency as “a crock,” and went on to perpetuate pop culture stereotypes and and fears about the industry, saying, “Cryptocurrencies are popular with guys who like to sit in their pajamas and tell their wives they are going to be millionaires. They help terrorists and criminals move money around the world. Tax evaders. They help startup companies commit fraud, take money, and one percent of the time they actually create a useful business.”
As Sherman continued to rebuke cryptocurrency and those who utilize the technology, he seemingly revealed the real reason government fears widespread consumer adoption of cryptocurrency.
“It hurts the U.S. government in two ways,” Sherman said. “Our contr….” Sherman began, as he appeared he was about to say “our control.” Although he stopped himself prior to uttering the entire phrase, he continued by saying, “…our ability to have the US dollar as the chief means of international finance is what has underpinned our ability to impose sanctions,” illustrating that monetary policy and the dollar are used as a system of control by the U.S. government.
It should thus come as no surprise that the top industries funding Sherman’s election campaigns are securities and investment related entities.
According to a report from CryptoCoinsNews, it was revealed on Reddit that Sherman’s top contributor for 2017-2018 is digital payment processor Allied Wallet- a company that stands to encounter significant competition from more efficient and private payment systems that have been created with blockchain technology. Overall, Sherman received $56,700 from the securities and investment industry.
Bank of America recently acknowledged that cryptocurrencies pose a challenge to their earnings, stating that “widespread adoption of new technologies,” including cryptocurrencies, may compel the company to make “substantial expenditures” in order to compete with such innovations.
Certain members of Congress like Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN), member of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus, showed a better understanding of the technology and its implications.
“This is something that Democrats and Republicans should be celebrating here in Congress not going ‘oh my gosh, this is terrible, we don’t understand it’,” Emmer said.
“I tend to trust people and believe that they’re in these things for good, and that they’re trying to improve their own lives and hopefully the lives of people around them — that old adage that a rising tide lifts all boats. And yet I hear elected officials who don’t have any concept of what we’re dealing with here and how exciting it is, talking about how we got to regulate and create more government infrastructure. I respectfully disagree that that won’t act as a wet blanket on this amazing new technology. I realize there has to be some regulation, but there’s got to be balance,” Emmer said.
Coinbase’s chief legal and risk officer Mike Lempres, Georgetown University law professor Dr. Chris Brummer, and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati partner Robert Rosenblum served as expert witnesses at the hearing, which is Congress’ first foray into potential regulatory issues surrounding initial coin offerings (ICOs).