It’s Different This Time: “Overwhelmingly Positive” and Bullish Crypto Hearing Before Congress

On Wednesday, top executives from six major cryptocurrency companies urged Congress to provide clearer rules for the growing crypto industry so that innovation can thrive in the US, warning that tough restrictions can push it overseas.

It was the first time the U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Committee hearing had crypto industry representatives explain to them just what exactly is going on in the booming space.

“Without tailored legislative solutions that are openly debated with public participation, the United States risks unnecessarily onerous and chilling laws and regulations,” warned Alesia Haas, Coinbase CFO.

Democratic Representative Maxine Waters, who chairs the panel, singled out Facebook Diem stablecoin plans as a major concern given the company’s massive global reach.

“Currently, cryptocurrency markets have no overarching centralized framework,” also commented Waters.

Congressman Warren Davidson called stablecoins “the lowest-hanging fruit” while Brian Brooks, current CEO of Bitfury and a former Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), had this to say:

“Is it consistent to take the position that only banks should be allowed to issue stablecoins but then fail to grant bank charters to the largest issuers of stablecoins?”

The hearing has the crypto community hopeful that congress would bring diligent and supportive regulations going forward, given the lack of outright bias towards crypto. Instead of going with antagonistic questions, they wanted to understand the industry.

“This hearing, though, has felt different. Almost every member of this committee has been between hesitant — but inquisitive/open to the idea that their concerns can be addressed — and outright enthusiastic about figuring out a way to make crypto a part of the U.S. landscape,” said Sam Trabucco, CEO of crypto quant trading firm Alameda Research.

Some lawmakers also praised the executives for leading the way on what could be a pivotal technology.

“I am tremendously impressed. I see a lot of ingenuity, a lot of entrepreneurial spirit,” said Representative Pete Sessions. “We need to be supportive of you.”

“​​Crypto is facilitating Web 3.0, which gives Americans ownership over their digital lives so Big Tech can’t continue to profit off of Internet users,” tweeted Congressman Tom Emmer, who is a member of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus.

Overall, the crypto industry found this hearing “overwhelmingly positive” and bullish, with congress members asking informed questions about the rapidly-evolving landscape.

“U.S. crypto regulation is fascinating and important, and after listening to this, I’m optimistic it’s in solid hands,” commented Trabucco.

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Author: AnTy

Chamber Of Digital Commerce Launches ‘Crypto for Congress’ Sending $50 in BTC to Every Member

  • CDC plans to give every member of congress a small campaign donation in Bitcoin (BTC).
  • The $27,000-plan aims to introduce digital assets to members of Congress to ease the lobbying process.
  • The U.S. still lags behind its competitors in the blockchain and cryptocurrency field.

In a published post on Monday, the Chamber of Digital Commerce (CDC), a leading trade association in digital asset payments and blockchain innovations, announced the launch of ‘Crypto for Congress’, a program set to send campaign donations in Bitcoin (BTC) to each of the 541 members of Congress. This represents the first time every member of Congress will have an opportunity to fully interact with the technology, leveling the field when making digital asset laws.

The Chamber of Digital Commerce PAC will send $50 donations to the campaign trail to each member, in addition to “providing extensive public online educational training, a toolkit, and resources.” The donation remains trivial but will greatly impact Congress members interacting with Bitcoin and the crypto ecosystem directly.

The post further states that presenting BTC to Congressional members will “foster a deeper understanding of blockchains” to ease the legal procedures and promote “greater participation in the political process” to integrate blockchain benefits to every industry U.S.

Also Read: US Congressional Members Ask the Government to Support Blockchain Tech For Covid-19 Relief

Crypto for Congress is an educational initiative formed by CDC’s PAC, a different entity from CDC, aiming to teach Congressional members from both parties of the benefits and law-making process in the blockchain and crypto ecosystem. Perianne Boring, President of the Chamber of Digital Commerce, emphasized the need for Congress to interest the blockchain field. Boring said,

“Now is the moment for all Members of Congress to learn about and embrace cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, and the best way to do that is to set up a digital wallet and get started on the blockchain journey.”

Further focusing on the U.S. lagging behind leading nations in digital assets and blockchain technology, she said,

“Many other nations like China, Japan, Singapore, and Switzerland have rapidly embraced blockchain technology and created robust national plans to be global leaders in this area. The United States is falling behind in technological innovation, and this is not a risk we should be willing to take.”

Support from Congress

The initiative is also supported by the Congressional Blockchain Caucus led by Tom Emmer and Darren Soto, who recently sponsored two digital asset bills in the Consumer Protection Act – currently in Senate.

Emmer labeled the Crypto for Congress initiative as a ‘lightbulb moment’ in Congress, finally taking an interest in the digital assets and blockchain developments. He said,

“By embracing the digital asset movement, we have an opportunity to take a significant step forward to ensure America’s leadership position in the future of the global economy.”

Representative. Darren Soto said,

“As lawmakers, it’s our duty to ensure the United States leads in blockchain technology. Understanding how this technology works at a hands-on level is an important step we must take to promote innovation and maximize the potential of cryptocurrencies for the U.S. economy.”

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Author: Lujan Odera

US Congress Banking Committee Discusses The Development Of Digital Money and Payments Systems

  • The U.S Congress banking committee discusses the future of digital money and payments
  • Former U.S Commodities and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) chairman is among the witnesses set to present to the committee.

With over 32 bills on digital currencies and payment systems introduced in the 116th U.S Congress, these new technologies got yet another day in the lawmakers’ chambers. According to a remote hearing earlier today, the U.S Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs discussed the “Digitization of Money and Payments.”

Details released on the hearing put forward three witnesses who vouched for digital payments, stablecoins and presented the advantages of developing a digital dollar. The witnesses are Former CFTC chairman and Senior Counsel at Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, Christopher. J. Giancarlo, Paxos co-founder and CEO, Charles Cascarilla, and Professor of Law at Duke University, Prof. Nakita Q. Cuttino.

In his pre-written statement to the committee, Giancarlo urges that the development of new financial systems to push America into the 21st century. He focuses on the long settlement and bank transfer times, land titles issuance, and recent delays in distribution of the $2 trillion stimulus checks – some taking a month to reflect in citizen’s accounts.

To bring new technological solutions, Giancarlo, who launched the Digital Dollar Project, a non-profit organization aiming to digitize the greenback, will be explaining the need to have a digital USD. He further wrote:

“The United States must take a leadership role in this next wave of digital innovation or be prepared to accept that the innovation will incorporate the values of America’s global competitors.”

Cascarilla looks to focus on stablecoins, and the possible creation of a Fed-controlled digital token, a CBDC. Given the current challenges in the banking system, Charles believes the integration of stablecoins is critical to the U.S’ financial infrastructure and maintaining its position in global economics.

He concluded his statement:

“Supporting growth and innovation with a US CBDC would facilitate the necessary upgrades to our financial infrastructure, reduce systemic risk, increase inclusion for all Americans and reinforce our values and the long-term position of the US dollar.”

According to Nikita’s statement, the development of digitized payment and money systems needs to focus on “the time and access frictions facing low-income Americans.” While digital payments streamline traditional banking, there are challenges still that obscure the countrywide adoption of these new technologies.

“Congress must critically review innovations like CBDCs and stablecoins to ensure novel forms do not belie true functions. In terms of financial inclusion, this means ensuring that promises of open access are achievable and ultimately achieved.”

[Also Read: ‌Bank of Canada: Zero-Knowledge Proof Are Insufficient for National Scale CBDC Integration]

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Author: Lujan Odera

China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) Suggests a Government-Backed Blockchain Fund

The National People’s Congress (NPC) in China has proposed the creation of a government-backed blockchain fund in its ongoing annual meeting.

The Chinese legislative body began consultative meetings last week as part of its political advisory role. According to its Deputy Director, Jieqin Tan, a blockchain fund would help spur growth in the industry.

This milestone comes shortly after the People’s Political Consultative Conference (PPC), during which a regional stablecoin was proposed. Basically, the PPC operates as a lower legislative body compared to the NPC; proposals tabled by delegates of the latter are more weighty and likely to be considered.

However, going by the recent blockchain and crypto sunrise wave in China, a regional stablecoin would not be completely out of the picture.

The Government Blockchain Fund Proposal

Jieqin Tan suggested that the blockchain fund could be steered by the Chinese government. Once up and running, the fund would focus on nurturing innovations within the blockchain space. More especially, unicorns and startups with a promising outlook given the current state of blockchain integration and emerging challenges.

Should this initiative be successful, Tan is optimistic that it will improve China’s odds in capitalizing on a first-mover advantage. In addition, blockchain tech has the potential to push China’s oversight towards ‘smart governance’.

Tan, therefore, thinks that funding and supporting the industry would increase the security and sovereignty of the Chinese people. In his view, the industry should be consolidated based on a three-dimensional strategic plan:

“From the bottom technology standard, middle industry application development to the top-level system design, the national blockchain technology, industry and supervision three-dimensional strategic planning system should be well coordinated.”

Despite touting the proposal as a good initiative, Tan was keen to highlight that blockchain tech has had its fair share of challenges. Particularly, scaling issues have emerged as more players join existing ecosystems. Furthermore, the industry is still short of talent and operates on a huge knowledge gap making it hard for information to be impactful.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

“Economy Dying, Fed Incompetent,” Invest In Gold, Silver, Bitcoin: Rich Dad Poor Dad Author

Last week we reported Congress passed another $3 trillion coronavirus relief package after having spent $3 trillion already. But this won’t be enough and according to Fed chairman, Jerome Powell, both Congress and Fed would have to do more.

But worry not, because Fed isn’t out of ammunition, “not by a long shot.” They have interest rates to slash or better yet the unlimited money printing that they have already been doing. As Powell said on Sunday on CBS News,

“As a central bank, we have the ability to create money digitally.”

But not everyone agrees with Powell’s tools to prop the economy back. “ECONOMY dying. FED incompetent. Next BAILOUT trillions in pensions. HOPE fading,” said ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’ author Robert Kiyosaki.

According to him, the three investments to “prepare for the worst” are bitcoin, gold, and silver. And he expects all three of them to experience a jump in price in the coming years. As per his prediction, gold will rise 43% within a year to $3,000 and silver 135% to $40 in five years.

Bitcoin, the deflationary cryptocurrency with a limited supply, is expected to jump the highest 665% to $75,000 in the next three years.

Kiyosaki has long been a bitcoin supporter and has been calling for investing in these scarce assets.

While the money supply only continues to rise, last week, Bitcoin had its third halving that cut down miners’ reward in half and reduced its inflation to 1.8%.

“The rest of the world needs to either keep printing money or see their own currency eroding drastically in front of the unbeatable dollar,” said Jean-Marie Mognetti, chief executive officer of CoinShares.

“Bitcoin, a digital currency whose supply is programmatically defined to reduce until it reaches its maximum supply, would seem to be the perfect hedge for any institutional investor portfolio.”

Recently macro investor Paul Tudor Jones also became a bitcoiner and has almost 2% of his assets in the digital asset which according to him is an inflation hedge.

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Author: AnTy

Will Blockchain Voting Be Used As A Solution In US Congress During COVID-19 Outbreak?

The United States Congress released a staff memo dated April 30th, which suggests that they are considering the use of a blockchain-based voting system to conduct remote voting for upcoming senate elections as the COVID-19 outbreak has made it impossible to conduct the election in the traditional way.

The memo was drafted after the “Roundtable on Continuity of Senate Operations and Remote Voting in Times of Crisis,” hosted by the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations and chaired by Senator Rob Portman of Ohio.

The staff memo revealed that Congress is looking to use end-to-end encryption along with blockchain to ensure security and privacy of votes. Although the memo did not endorse blockchain directly, the main focus of the topic was on authentication and encryption. The memo did note that “the Senate may consider blockchain.”

The Finer Details of the Memo

The staff memo noted that both chambers of Congress have always met in person to conduct all types of business be it committee hearing, floor deliberation or voting and they have no plans to conduct these critical functions remotely. However, given the critical times that the world is facing, they are looking into encrypted distributed ledger.

The memo discussed that encrypted blockchain can ensure the transmission of vote securely while verifying the correct vote. The memo explained:

“With its encrypted distributed ledger, blockchain can both transmit a vote securely and also verify the correct vote. Some have argued that these attributes make blockchain useful for electronic voting broadly. Blockchain can provide a secure and transparent environment for transactions and a tamper-free electronic record of all the votes. It also reduces the risks of incorrect vote tallies. Moreover, some firms have already begun to deploy blockchain-like technology to help countries, like Estonia, run elections entirely online.”

The memo further also discusses certain risks involved with using blockchain technology, especially the majority control. The memo noted that if majority control of the blockchain falls into the wrong hands, it might be manipulated.

Given the small size of the senate, any remote voting system based on blockchain would be required to set up with utmost care eliminating risks of 51% attack, so that no bad actor can get their hands on the voting chip.

However, this is not the first attempt to use a blockchain-based system for remote voting, prior to this discussion, the blockchain-like system was deployed for Estonia’s 2019 parliamentary elections which saw 44% of the total vote being cast using the system.

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Author: James W

Congresswoman Addresses Libra’s Latest Whitepaper: ‘Too Many Questions Unanswered’

A U.S Congress lawmaker, Rep. Sylvia Garcia, called out Libra following the latest changes implemented in its new updated whitepaper claiming the changes do not address the concerns raised during the hearing.

According to Garcia’s statement, Libra’s plan to offer single-backed digital currencies or improve their compliance systems do not pass the mark for the Rep, who has vowed to push for Libra’s classification as a “security”.

U.S Representative: “Libra hasn’t addressed the issues by FSC”

Regulators across the world are taking a closer look at Libra, Facebook’s crypto, setting tough regulations on stablecoins and other digital assets backed by fiat. Sylvia Garcia, who also serves on the House Financial Service Committee, questions why Facebook is offering cryptocurrencies in a Twitter thread sent out on Apr. 17.

Libra, which is a Swiss-based digital payments platform, released its whitepaper on Thursday proposing the introduction of compliance and single fiat-backed stablecoins. Though the concept of a multiple fiat-backed digital currencies, LBR, is still in the plan.

As per the recent whitepaper updates, this step was taken in a bid to combat the threats posed by the stablecoin to current monetary systems as well as align themselves to regulators.

Lawmaker Sylvia Garcia, however, isn’t convinced and came to point out that the most recent whitepaper, issued by Libra, did not necessarily address concerns raised by her and Facebook CEO Mr. Zuckerberg. A Libra coin backed by a basket of assets is not what they had recently envisioned.

Representative Garcia further stated that the changes introduced in the new whitepaper don’t follow the guidelines the Financial Service Committee offered during Mark Zuckerburg’s hearing last year. She wrote:

“As such, this doesn’t address the concerns I raised when Mr. Zuckerberg testified before FSC, and for which I introduced a bill to address said concerns.”

“Libra is a Security”

Notwithstanding, Garcia plans to continue the relentless push for Libra to follow the securities act claiming that it qualifies as one. The congresswoman wrote:

“I will continue to work to make sure that the SEC regulates any such asset as the security that it is under current securities laws.”

With growing regulatory scrutiny, a number of Libra members have dropped out of the project due to the rising uncertainty clouding the new project. These members include PayPal, eBay, MasterCard, Visa, Stripe, and Vodafone. Only a few members have joined the Libra Association recently; Shopify and Tagomi.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Crypto Forensics Startup Elliptic to Urge Congress For Tougher AML Enforcement of Privacy Coins

Elliptic, a crypto analytic firm is set on recommending the US Congress demand tougher anti-money laundering (AML) rules for exchanges allowing of the trading of privacy coins. The firm is set to lay down recommendations at a US Congressional hearing that will discuss how cryptos are being utilized to facilitate human trafficking, CoinDesk reports.

On Wednesday the Human Rights Commission will attest as to how new technology has impacted the Trafficking Victims Protection Act to identify the new threats which should be addressed. One of the people who is set testify during the hearing is Elliptic head of policy Liat Shetret.

Tom Robinson Elliptic co-founder has revealed that the House Commission will look at how cryptocurrency is used on the dark web.

Shetret will produce to the House commission how the present tools can be used by the law enforcement agencies to keep track of the illicit cryptocurrency transactions. He also says that the US should be at the forefront in setting the pace for other countries in the creation of fresh regulations. He also stated that the FATF should be supported in its recommendations which can be used in the world.

A key recommendation that Shetret is set to give is that exchanges dealing with privacy coins have different set of tougher AML conditions.

According to Robinson past testimonies regarding human trafficking have been critical in the role played by cryptocurrencies leading to recommendations that Congress should have tougher rules in place to oversee the industry. He continued to explain that the current laws have been in place for the last twenty years and need updated, and what he intends to do is to show that the advent of analyzing blockchain transactions has led to a reduction of illegal utilization of the cryptos.

Shetret explained that while various types of crypto transactions are traceable, it is hard to trace privacy coins therefore it is important that the Congress and other regulators come up with new guidelines that will help exchanges as well as banks for dealing with privacy coins as well as people trading them.

Shetret also explained that the regulators should come with AML rules with lack of traceability in mind.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

North Carolina Republican Congressional Candidate Wants to ‘Invest Wisely’ in Bitcoin in 2020

Republican candidate for US Congress Pete D’Abrosca thinks it’s very wise to invest in Bitcoin (BTC) in the year that’s about to come.

D’Abrosca wants to be elected to the North Carolina seventh district. This is what he said on Twitter about investing in Bitcoin and ammunition:

While it’s unlikely for him to win the election against Republican Congressman David Rouzer, who’s the incumbent at the moment, it’s still good there are more crypto supporters in the US politics.

Former Bakkt CEO to Become Interim Senator

People in the crypto industry seem to forget the former CEO of Bakkt, a major Bitcoin futures exchange will be the interim Senator for Georgia. During the introduction ceremony held for her, Governor Brian Kemp said she will stand by President Trump’s side and vote against his removal from office. Here are Kemp’s exact words:

“Kelly Loeffler will stand with our president, Senator Perdue, and their allies in the House and Senate to keep America great.”

If she wants to remain on the seat, Loeffler will have to run for the 2020 election. Kemp thinks she’s the right person to win back the trust of Republican female voters.

President Donald Trump Not a Fan of Crypto

In spite of the fact that many members in his party are open to cryptocurrency, President Donald Trump isn’t. The hope is that there are many crypto supporters in the Democratic party too, seeing that Andrew Yang, who occupies the 4th position in popularity for Democrats, announced he’s accepting Bitcoin, Ethereum and some other cryptocurrencies for funding his July 2018 campaign. More than this, Tulsi Gabbard disclosed in her federal filings that she has crypto holdings.

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Author: Oana Ularu

US Congress Set To Vote On A Bill That Will Determine CFTC’s Crypto Authority Powers

U.S Congress members are set to vote on a bill that will delineate the powers of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) authority as regards to the crypto derivatives markets.

For crypto watchers, a crucial moment is in the offing as U.S. Congress members ready themselves preparatory to voting on a bill of great significance to the crypto sector. This bill, the 2019 CFTC Reauthorization Act delineates the process by which regulators are supposed to gather information related to commodity swap and commodity contracts.

As of now, the bill is on its way to the Federal House of Representatives and there will be subjected to a floor vote. The bill came to the house via the House Agriculture Committee, which unanimously approved it. The committee incidentally manages the operations of the CFTC.

The Bill Of Crypto Life

Should it sail through Congress, the bill will make history as the first to specify Congressionally-mandated and digital commodity-tailored requirements on the CFTC. More, the writer of the bill, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D.-NY) says it is now the only crypto derivatives bill to progress past the committee stage, which is quite an achievement.

In a statement attributed to him, Rep. Patrick encouraged members of the U.S. Congress to wise up to the uses and abuses of crypto and to formulate an integrated approach for regulating the use of digital currencies. The bill according to him is necessary to fight manipulation and detect fraud, and properly regulate cryptoassets in the derivatives market.

The provisions of the bill are relatively brief. It states that the CFTC will be made to adopt rules that make it possible for it to glean all manner of useful information related to trading and trader data, as well as any other information related to contract markets with digital commodity underpinnings that the board of trade can access whenever it wishes to. The following paragraph makes the same requirements for swap execution facilities.

CFTC chairman Heath Tarbert recently released a statement in regards to the bill. In this, Tarbet heaped praise on the Agriculture Committee for ensuring the passage of this piece of legislation.

He also underscored the need to keep the derivatives market soundly regulated, because of its importance and the fact that it records daily notional activity whose worth exceeds $4 trillion. This makes it very important to the U.S. economy and according to him directly affects the financial status of all Americans.

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Author: Ali Raza