While cryptocurrencies are not yet mainstream — this entire market is worth less than Visa — the rapid growth of this nascent asset class over the past few years has seen discussion of Bitcoin, blockchain, and digital assets permeate into politics.
In fact, it has become (or was) a fledgling topic of conversation amongst a few mainly Democratic presidential candidates.
Unfortunately, the candidates that were trying to spark discussion about cryptocurrencies are folding out of the race, failing to meet the expectations of their potential voters in the face of most entrenched political players.
Crypto Leaves Presidential Race, At Least on the Democratic Side of Things
On Tuesday, many states across the U.S. had their democratic primaries in an event with the umbrella term “Super Tuesday”; hundreds of thousands of registered Democrats flocked down to polling stations to cast their vote for who they think will be best suited to beat the Republican nominee late this year.
After Vice-President (under Obama) Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders swept the primaries, those candidates that did not fare as well had to rethink their position in the race. Although Senator Elizabeth Warren and Representative Tulsi Gabbard have yet to drop out, former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg exited the race.
This is relevant to cryptocurrency because Bloomberg wanted to use his power as President of the U.S. to more fairly regulate cryptocurrency. A Financial Reform Policy from the ex-candidate read:
Cryptocurrencies have become an asset class worth hundreds of billions of dollars, yet regulatory oversight remains fragmented and undeveloped. For all the promise of the blockchain, Bitcoin and initial coin offerings, there’s also plenty of hype, fraud and criminal activity. Mike will work with regulators to provide clearer rules of the game.
Bloomberg Follows Yang Out the Door
Bloomberg’s departure from the race to the White House — which might not be permanent due to the need for presidential candidates to have a vice president — comes shortly after Andrew Yang also left the race.
Although Yang, also a Yankee businessman-turned-presidential candidate, was not as relevant as Bloomberg from a pure numbers standpoint, he shared his peer’s belief that the cryptocurrency industry needs to be better regulated by Washington.
In a January interview with Bloomberg, he stated that the inconsistent regulation around cryptocurrency from state-to-state is hurting this industry, which he claimed has “high potential”:
“It’s bad for innovators who want to invest in this space. So that would be my priority: clear and transparent rules so everyone knows where they can head in the future and so we can maintain competitiveness [in crypto].”
Still a Relevant Topic in Washington
Although the Democratic candidates that had the foresight to talk about potential regulation for cryptocurrencies are now out, Washington has still put some effort into establishing laws and rules for the fledgling industry.
Per previous reports from Blockonomi, five senators in January introduced Senate bill 2594, which will make it legal for Hawaiian banks to store digital assets, which is a class that includes “virtual currencies,” “digital securities,” and “open blockchain tokens.”
Also, U.S. House Representatives DelBene, Schweikert, Soto, and Emmer have continued to promote the Virtual Currency Tax Fairness Act of 2020. The act, should it become law, would solve a primary issue in spending cryptocurrency for day-to-day transactions, ensuring that small crypto transactions (like spending Bitcoin for a cup of coffee or a sandwich) would be exempt from capital gains.