“Backdoor Bitcoin Ban?” Infrastructure Bill Creator Rob Portman Unveils Competing Amendment

Senator Rob Portman’s amendment, which supports PoW chains but punishes those using PoS protocol, for now, has gained support from Mark Warner, Kyrsten Sinema, and most importantly, the White House. Crypto experts are skeptical and urging the community to call their senators and support the Wyden-Lummis-Toomey amendment.

On Wednesday, as we reported, Cynthia Lummis (R- Wyo), Ron Wyden (D-Ore), and Pat Toomey (R-Pa) filed their amendments to the crypto tax provision, which has also gained the support of Colorado Governor Jared Polis.

Late on Thursday, then, Senator Rob Portman, who is behind the bipartisan infrastructure bill and its overreaching crypto policies, tweeted out his support for the Wyden-Lummis-Toomey amendment saying, “we can do more to clarify the intent of the cryptocurrency provision & the Senate should vote on their amendment,” which had the crypto community excited and increasingly hopeful of getting this done.

But in a quick turn of events, at the last minute, Portman proposed his own “whack competing” amendment with support from Mark Warner, D-Va and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz, which support PoW chains but punishes those using PoS protocol.

“It is a disastrous. It only excludes proof-of-work mining. And it does nothing for software devs. Ridiculous!” said Jerry Brito, executive director of CoinCenter.

Blockchain Association executive director Kristin Smith warns that Portman and Warners’ amendment is anti-technology and anti-innovation that “would be disastrous for the U.S. crypto ecosystem.”

“If there is a worse way to make policy, someone is always ready to pounce. Hopefully it is simple ignorance rather than a malicious attack on a burgeoning FinTech industry. What a train wreck!” commented Congressman Warren Davidson, who is a crypto supporter.

Portman’s amendment even gained the support of the White House.

“The Administration believes this provision will strengthen tax compliance in this emerging area of finance and ensure that high income taxpayers are contributing what they owe under the law… we believe that the alternative amendment put forward by Senators Warner, Portman, and Sinema strikes the right balance and makes an important step forward in promoting tax compliance,” reads the statement attributed to Andrew Bates, White House Deputy Press Secretary.

This obviously took the crypto community by shock. They were quick to point out that this is absolutely wrong to do at the last moment and is an attempt to do what the original bill was planning all along, ban the crypto industry.

“Make no mistake, this is a backdoor Bitcoin ban. Compliance is impossible. Their intent is to criminalize full nodes, lightning nodes, and most Bitcoin wallets. And they are not really in favor of proof-of-work; the very next bill will include some ESG thing to attack that too,” tweeted Balaji Srinivasan, former Coinabse CTO, and General Partner at a16z.

The Senate plans to vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill on Saturday.

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Author: AnTy

CFTC Wants A Piece of Crypto Too, But More Concerned About DeFi

CFTC is reminding the SEC that it is them who has authority over crypto-assets, while Senator Elizabeth Warren is urging for more crypto oversight to avoid possible systemic risks before it gets even bigger.

Senator Elizabeth Warren is urging US regulators and Congress to respond to the growth of cryptocurrencies.

“Right now, we don’t have any cops on the beat to speak of,” said Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, in an interview with Bloomberg.

“So long as it’s an unregulated system, you may be pulling more people in so that they can get cheated, and that’s not what we want.”

While the senator does see positives for the technology behind crypto assets in potentially providing a solution for “unbanked” who are required to pay high fees to cash their checks, Warren also said regulations need to be stepped up to avoid any possible systemic risks.

“The bigger it gets and the more it stays outside the financial system — something goes wrong, there’s a run on crypto, or elsewhere in the economy, I don’t want the U.S. taxpayer to be the one that gets called on to back this up.”

Warren further pointed to pump and dump schemes that are illegal but often not punished due to unclear oversight on the industry.

Her comments follow US Securities and Exchange Commissioner (SEC) Chair Gary Gensler talking about bringing more crypto enforcement actions on the market, which he said is rife with manipulation and fraud.

He called for Congress to give the SEC the power to oversee crypto exchanges, which are not within the SEC’s authority, along with crypto lending, decentralized finance.

Gensler also said that many tokens, not just crypto assets but also stablecoins and derivatives, may fit the definition of securities that fall under existing US laws.

However, it’s not just the Fed, IRS, and SEC after crypto, but other agencies like CFTC wants a piece of the pie as well.

“Just so we’re all clear here, the SEC has no authority over pure commodities or their trading venues, whether those commodities are wheat, gold, oil….or crypto assets,” tweeted CFTC Commissioner Brian Quintenz on Wednesday.

Quintenz also retweeted several tweets regarding crypto, including one from the House Committee On Agriculture that said, “crypto is bigger than the SEC. Congress needs to write the rules of the road to protect investors AND innovation in the digital economy.”

Quintenz seems to be more interested in and concerned about DeFi.

Last week, in response to Warren talking about the need to regulate crypto before many small investors get entirely wiped out, Quintenz said that CFTC has already extensively used its authority over outright crypto token fraud. It’s the decentralized systems with full transparency of open source code that “significant(ly) reduce information asymmetries.” He said at the time,

“The competition-innovation cycle occurring in defi, powered by almost zero barriers to entry and total transparency (both unprecedented in the traditional financial system), is incredible to watch. But CFTC must stay vigilant at prosecuting outright fraud.”

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Author: AnTy

Infrastructure Bill Amendment Calls for A Level Playing Field with TradeFi, Without Penalizing Crypto

Senator Cynthia Lummis (R- Wyo), Ron Wyden (D-Ore), and Pat Toomey (R-Pa) are behind the amendment proposal that integrates crypto into the financial system and protects American innovation while ensuring taxes are paid.

Crypto supporter Senator Cynthia Lummis (R- Wyo), along with Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore) and Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa), has filed an amendment to the bipartisan infrastructure bill. For approval, it would need to gain at least 60 votes in the Senate. Lummis, who is also a Bitcoiner since 2013 said,

“Digital assets are here to stay, and while more work needs to be done, the Wyden-Lummis amendment integrates them into the financial system while leaving room for innovation.”

The purpose of the amendment is to clear up confusion about what constitutes a “broker” for reporting information to the IRS. Also, the update aims to ensure the term excludes validators, hardware and software makers, and protocol developers. Wyden, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, said in a statement,

“Our amendment makes clear that reporting does not apply to individuals developing blockchain technology and wallets. This will protect American innovation while at the same time ensuring those who buy and sell cryptocurrency pay the taxes they already owe.”

If the changes are included in the final bill, that would be a big win for the crypto industry. The bill’s broad definition of “broker” includes entities that don’t have customers whose information is needed to be reported to the IRS. Toomey, a ranking member on the Senate Banking Committee, in a statement, said,

“By clarifying the definition of broker, our amendment will ensure non-financial intermediaries like miners, network validators, and other service providers — many of whom don’t even have the personal-identifying information needed to file a 1099 with the IRS — are not subject to the reporting requirements specified in the bipartisan infrastructure package.”

However, clarifying the provision would not affect the reporting requirements on crypto exchanges like Coinbase that operate on behalf of customers, which the crypto market participants have said they support. Brian Armstrong, Coinbase CEO said,

“Coinbase is happy to help customers fulfill tax obligations just like the rest of the financial services industry. We’ve been doing this for years, and issuing more 1099s is a great idea.”

Armstrong did argue that the bill imposes sweeping and unprecedented reporting requirements that will force exchanges and others to surveil their customer’s transactions in a more intrusive way than the rest of traditional finance.

“All we ask for is an even playing field with traditional finance that doesn’t penalize cryptocurrency unfairly,” he added.

Blockchain Association, a crypto trade association that works to change public policy at the federal level, said it supports the amendment, sensible reporting requirements consistent with those applied to traditional financial services, in a joint statement published with the crypto policy-focused nonprofit Coin Center, Square, Coinbase, and VC Ribbit Capital. The Blockchain Association said in its statement,

“The development of crypto, and financial innovation generally, has enormous potential for the American economy and the American people through increased job creation and GDP growth.”

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Author: AnTy

Former Australian Senator With Highly Conservative Views Becomes the Next Bitcoiner

Former Australian senator Cory Bernardi describes Bitcoin as “the millennial’s version of gold.”

A Bitcoin convert, Bernardi took to Twitter to share that it has been only in the last couple of years that he became a bitcoiner.

“My conclusion is it is the millennial’s version of gold.

Still see risks attached but are basically the same as other asset classes – leg, confidence and demand. See demand getting stronger.”

He further mentioned Morgan Creek Digital partner Anthony Pompliano for advocating Bitcoin, to which Pomp said, “There are hundreds of people pushing content, education, and knowledge in the space. Complete team effort.”

Earlier this January, he left politics after serving under the Liberal Party for over a decade. Bernardi, who served as a senator for South Australia, is known for his highly conservative views.

Following his controversial career in politics, Bernardi now runs a membership-based website Confidential Community which, according to him, offers “more common sense than most people can handle.”

Last week was the only other time Bernardi tweeted about Bitcoin when he retweeted Pomp and said his self-proclaimed “famous” newsletter covered the impact of the election on Bitcoin and other potential asset classes.

In 2020 more and more high-profile people have publicly shared bullish views about Bitcoin and declared their BTC holdings. From Paul Tudor Jones, Stan Druckenmiller, Ben Miller to companies like Square and MicroStrategy have found Bitcoin as the best alternative asset class as a hedge against inflation and devaluing the US dollar.

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Author: AnTy

If Bernie Sanders Becomes The 2020 US President; How Would That Affect Bitcoin?

The Nevada Democratic caucus just showed senator Bernie Sanders as the winner. While voting was coming to a close, it was revealed that Sanders was leading Joe Biden by far.

If he’s elected, the impact on cryptocurrencies such as the Bitcoin (BTC) would be major. The results of the Nevada caucus indicate he has a good chance at defeating President Donald Trump. Sanders is the most likely nominee, but Biden will stake his flagging campaign at the South Carolina event from next week too.

How Will the Economy Be Affected?

Whereas the President doesn’t have too much influence over the economy, Sanders came up with some policies that made economists doubt him. For example, he offered forgiveness for student loans, advocated medical care for single payers and promised to fight “corporate greed”. His policies can be called anti-Trump and socialistic, but he still gained a lot of sympathy from the Democrats.

However, these policies may greatly impact the Federal debt, causing the US dollar to become crippled. The more debts increase and consume from the GDP, the more the dollar is devaluing, which can lead to a spiral inflation and the destruction of the US economy.

The BTC Would Bounce

On the other hand, Sanders’ policies could have a positive impact on the BTC’s value. The more this digital currency decouples from the dollar and the US national currency devalues, the more BTC’s value increases. Such an example was given by Venezuela, where while the Bolivar was being tanked, digital currencies were being used more often for transactions. The use of BTC and DASH went through the roof because merchants looked for transfer methods that are stable when compared to the country’s currency.

In case this would happen in the US, new users would enter the market and cause cryptocurrency prices to go up as a result of increased usage. In other words, Sanders may bring only good for the BTC.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Governor Brian Kemp To Pick Bakkt CEO Loeffler For US Senate As Georgia’s Representative in 2020

The CEO of Bakkt, Kelly Loeffler, might soon be picked as the new Senator for Georgia after Johnny Isakson steps down at the end of this year due to health complications. A recent report by Atlanta Journal Constitution revealed that Governor Kemp is set to make the announcement in the course of next week; could this lead to a new dawn for digital currencies at Capitol Hill?

Loeffler is however not Trump’s favorite for this position; the President had been supporting Congressman Doug Collins as the replacement for Isakson. According to the AJC report, Governor Kemp’s decision to pick a woman is more popular given a number of women have left the GOP party in the recent years. If successful, the Bakkt CEO will be Georgia’s 2nd woman Senate representative.

Bakkt Volumes Hit $37 Million

The Bakkt digital asset exchange volumes increased by almost double in the past week to hit a high of $37.4 million. Loeffler’s appointment would be a fundamental boost to Bakkt and the whole crypto industry; current hurdles in crypto regulation would be better addressed with FinTech leaders included. Bakkt also launched its Bitcoin Futures trading back in September which hit its highest traded volume on 27th November.

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Author: Lujan Odera