As the price of Bitcoin (BTC) has boomed, so have the number of incumbents of traditional finance and politics taking to the streets to bash cryptocurrency. In Washington, D.C. on Thursday, one American politician — and a prominent one at that — suggested that cryptocurrencies should be banned. Yikes. (Note: there is some opinion scattered through this piece.)
Crypto Bashed In Washington, D.C.
During Thursday’s Financial Services Committee hearing, U.S. Congressman Bradley Sherman, who represents the Democrats in California — the home of technological innovation of all places — suddenly brought on cryptocurrencies. During his rant-esque statement, which was recorded by industry non-profit Coin Center, Sherman remarked that Congress should outlaw cryptocurrencies for U.S. citizens. He remarked:
“I look for colleagues to join with me in introducing a bill to outlaw cryptocurrency purchases by Americans. […] An awful lot of our international power comes from the fact the U.S. dollar is the standard unit of international finance and transactions.”
Sherman explained that cryptocurrencies are starting to enter the realm of “illicit finance”, specifically looking to how the Hamas militia is seeking funding through Bitcoin. He then goes on to describe Bitcoin’s premise as one built on libertarianism and anarchism, which is, to his credit, true.
Yet, he goes on to represent the entire cryptocurrency space like it is predicated on tax evasion, drug dealing, and what have you, effectively forgetting to realize that this technological advancement is so much more than what he mentioned, not to mention that the U.S. dollar is used for questionable acts too. Furthering his narrative, Sherman jokes that “crypto is the plastic gun of currency.”
He then concluded his statement by drawing attention to the fact that cryptocurrency undermines the value proposition of the U.S. dollar, quipping that something like Bitcoin could “disempower foreign policy, tax collection enforcement, and traditional law enforcement.” JP Morgan & Chase’s Jamie Dimon would surely be proud.
Today in Congress Rep. Sherman called for a bill to ban all cryptocurrencies.
This is why Coin Center is needed in DC now more than ever. pic.twitter.com/jgikm7z8bI
— Coin Center (@coincenter) May 9, 2019
Oh, The Hypocrisy!
The funny thing about this, as pointed out by Twitter commentator The Crypto Dog, is that Sherman may be slightly hypocritical when using the “illicit finance” narrative. Although the Congressman has never participated in such heinous acts before, his campaign’s top funder is from a company that had to forfeit $13.3 million. What for, you ask? Well, apparently the company was involved in illegal online gambling, and thus was required to fork over that money to the Feds.
What’s more, the campaign donor list for Sherman is spotted with American banks and traditional institutions, making it no surprise that he’s pushing back against an innovation that could usurp the foundation he stands upon.
Color me surprised, I’ll wait.
.@BradSherman was so concerned about $crypto users using #cryptocurrency for deceptive and illegal financial activity, yet his top campaign donation came from a company that had to forfeit $13.3 million to the US Government for facilitating illegal gambling. pic.twitter.com/mLn0WHU6jR
— The Crypto Dog📈 (@TheCryptoDog) July 18, 2018
We have covered Brad Sherman and his conflicts of interest before here on Blockonomi.
Bitcoin Proponents Take Up Arms
This odd case of Bitcoin bashing, alongside a similar case seen just days ago with Nobel Prize-endowed economist Joseph Stiglitz, has resulted in the cryptocurrency community taking up arms. Not only does an event band the industry together. Anthony Pompliano of Morgan Creek Capital hints at the fact that Sherman likely understands very little about Bitcoin, let alone cryptocurrency or blockchain, making it nonsensical to call for a ban. Pompliano added, “Bitcoin will be around long after Mr. Sherman.”
Congressman Brad Sherman wants to outlaw cryptocurrencies.
He has been in office for 22 straight years. More than twice as long as Bitcoin has existed. Maybe we should outlaw lifelong politicians?!
Thankfully, Bitcoin will be around long after Mr. Sherman 🙂 pic.twitter.com/T5RSBltX3W
— Pomp 🌪 (@APompliano) May 9, 2019
As industry journalist Kyle Torpey noted, Sherman’s attempt to spark anti-Bitcoin bills is actually a solid advertisement for the cryptocurrency, as it literally shows how scared the U.S. is of its dollar losing hegemony as the world’s go-to asset. Jimmy Song, an industry educator, adds that this is a clear sign that Bitcoin is reaching the point in its life during which those stuck in the past are trying to stop something inevitable, this being the rise of a sound, decentralized, censorship-resistant, and digital money that breaks all traditional boundaries.