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US Congress Discusses Crypto Regulation on Capitol Hill

The capital from the side

Coindesk live streamed news from the Crypto Regulation meetings at US Congress today via Twitter on the hashtag #CryptoCongress.

The hearings opened with House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway stating his beliefs that digital assets hold a more universal and reliable promise than simply acting as a payment method. He went on to say that a strong regulatory framework is essential for cryptocurrencies and regulators might want to consider developing one.

Ranking member Collin Peterson stated his concerns regarding crypto-related scams and the loss of funds by investors. He said most of the crypto space seems like a Ponzi scheme and questions what backing it has.

Former CFTC chair Gary Gensler pointed out that there is nothing backing gold either other than a cultural norm which has been in place for thousands of years. He had previously voiced his optimism for cryptocurrency and hopes to see the technology succeed. He imagines it has the potential to lower costs and risks inherent in the financial system.

“To date, 3,800 ICOs have launched and 200 crypto exchanges are operating with tens of millions of customers worldwide. About 55% of the crypto market value is now in tokens other than Bitcoin.” – Former CFTC chair Gary Gensler

First witness and law professor Josh Fairfield opened his speech by stating that cryptocurrency tokens will reshape property law if price points are pushed low enough to unleash disruptive applications. He believes regulators should not “fail to recognize systems that walk, quack and waddle like ducks merely because of some shiny new cryptocurrency feathers”

Amber Baldet and Scott Kupor on the Benefits of Digital Assets

Amber Baldet, CEO of blockchain startup Clovyr, took the stage to mention that cryptocurrency work involves “technical research and development, corporate and financial industry transformation, digital privacy and public cryptocurrency advocacy” and went on to promote the revolutionary properties of crypto assets that allow the digital transference of value without the need for an intermediary.

She later says that public blockchains can be thought of as digital public commons that allow auditing, increase trust and can act as a bridge for people in distressed economies.

Scott Kupor of Andreessen Horowitz opened his speech with the following: “Crypto networks enable a new way for innovative developers to create new digital services without the attendant risk of building on centralized platforms.”

He later spoke of how blockchain networks give users the ability to choose which data they want to expose to advertisers and by doing so promote the flow of economic value. In response to a question regarding money-laundering, Kupor pointed out how cryptocurrency is actually the worst tool to do so since every transaction can be traced.

Lawyer Lowell D. Ness mentioned at that point that the alleged Russian hackers implicated in the U.S voting scandal were caught because they used Bitcoin.

LabCFTC director Daniel Gorfine spoke of the dangers regarding hasty regulations that might miss the mark and have unintended consequences. He believes it is important that we continue studying and learning to keep pace with change.

You can read the full transcription on Twitter @CryptoCongress

Image From Shutterstock

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