Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN)

Representative Tom Emer is the King of Cryptography in Congress

WASHINGTON — With major cryptocurrencies plummeting over the summer and dozens of Americans taking heavy losses, federal lawmakers and regulators have faced mounting pressure to rein in the growing cryptocurrency market.

Starting in the spring, the value of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies plummeted from their all-time highs last year, wiping out $2 trillion and sending several crypto companies into bankruptcy, with one facing rampant fraud allegations.

But despite the turmoil, Representative Tom Emer, a staunch Republican House member from Minnesota, has been steadfast in his support for the industry. While some in Congress treat the volatile cryptocurrency market with caution and apprehension, Emmer has promoted it as an opportunity for Americans to achieve financial freedom.

It is related to capital formation. For me, what’s supposed to make this country better than anywhere else is – I don’t have to know someone to be someone,” Emir Tell Axios in August.

“Are we going to create an environment where people invest them here in the United States, and they grow these opportunities here, or are we going to play a ‘I’m afraid of what I don’t do’ game, understand? game,” he said.

Emer, who serves as chair of the Republican campaign arm in the House of Representatives, is among the most powerful lawmakers in Washington in support of digital currencies, as well as the blockchain technology that supports them. As the fourth in command of the House Republican Party and a prominent member of the committee that oversees the financial services industry, his support is likely to be vital to the cryptocurrency market as it gains both positive and negative attention.

Crypto advocates argue that digital currencies are a way to exchange money for goods and services without excessive government and central banks interference. The developers also say that the underlying blockchain technology – a digital ledger that can store information – offers the potential for a more decentralized internet, free from interference from tech giants like Facebook and Google.

crypto skeptics say it’s a file Old pump and dump diagram Wearing technical utopia, it attracts casual investors with promises of dividends – with the recent crash providing plenty of evidence that cryptocurrency is neither a stable investment nor a legitimate currency.

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As virtual currencies have gained popularity in recent years—particularly during the pandemic era’s hot cryptocurrency trading period—legislators across the country have gained in popularity. wrestle With how to deal with the trillion dollar market, which remains volatile and largely unregulated. For some, the cryptocurrency community offers not only a financial opportunity, but a political one as well.

Democrats are making a huge mistake by giving up the vote on cryptocurrency [the] GOP,” Jeff Roberts, Cryptographic Editor at luckAnd the chirp last year. “Crypto is a wealthy, fast-growing constituency that will support anyone who supports it.”

It’s unclear what initially attracted Emmer to cryptography. Neither he nor his office responded to multiple requests for comment. But he said he was an early adopter on Capitol Hill, first taking an interest in cryptocurrency about seven years ago Axios.

“The future is here and it has the potential to decentralize control and empower each and every one of us,” he said during his 2020 campaign. That year, he had become One of the first congressional candidates to accept donations in Bitcoin and detained “The first ever cryptocurrency council.” Since then, he has Receive The maximum contribution amount allowed from Bitpay, the Bitcoin payment service, whose CEO joined the event.

It is unclear whether Emmer owns any digital assets of his own. His last financial statement Reportintroduced in 2021, does not show any.

But Emyr, whose sixth rural district is located outside Minneapolis far from the nation’s financial centers, has opposing Stricter banking regulation in the past. Now, he is part of a growing number of political leaders who have opted to openly embrace the new financial technology as its mainstream appeal spreads.

Scott Conger, the mayor of Tennessee who wants to add a Bitcoin mining network to City Hall, said, according to The New York Times. It is a hedge against inflation. He said last January that he could close this wealth gap, even as the cryptocurrency market slides.

In El Salvador, Bitcoin is now a national currency. But with the recent downturn in the market, the country has – on paper at least – Lost More than half of its investment.

Duel Letters to Yellen

Cryptocurrency proponents point to its decentralized nature — meaning that it is not controlled by major banks or governments — as their greatest strength. But critics say the lack of oversight leaves the market ripe for the exploitation of criminals, and the recent multibillion-dollar money laundering. cases She highlighted weaknesses in the industry.

I am deeply concerned about the volatility of the cryptocurrency market and the unfavorable regulatory environment in which cryptocurrency scams, fraud, theft and evasion continue to proliferate and the savings of parent and tier investors have vanished,” Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren, an outspoken crypto skeptic, Wrote Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen last week.

Warren says that some of the anonymizing features of cryptocurrency can be exploited by illegitimate actors to avoid US sanctions. Yellen urged “protecting the integrity of the US sanctions regime,” addressing the climate impacts of crypto-mining, which uses swathes of computers and energy, and “protecting consumers and investors.”

For his part, Emer recently sent Yellen a letter as well — but he examined recent enforcement action from the Treasury. In August, the Ministry’s Office of Foreign Assets Control accept it A piece of an anonymous crypto program known as Tornado Cash, accusing it of being “used to launder more than $7 billion in virtual currencies since its inception in 2019”.

“This includes more than $455 million stolen by the Lazarus Group, a hacking group sponsored by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and has been Punished by the United States in 2019In the The biggest known cryptocurrency theft to dateOFAC said.

However, Emmer noted that Tornado Cash is a technology tool that is powered by a token, and is not controlled by a specific person or entity. “[T]Emer wrote that the adoption of decentralized, neutral, open-source technology raises a series of new questions “that affect not only our national security, but the right to privacy of every American citizen.”

Emer made it clear that he is not against all government regulations; Instead, in an effort to boost the business, he wants to be minimal. “As co-chair of the Congressional Blockchain Pool, I have consistently advocated for increased education and legislation in Congress on new technological innovations and our need for light-touch regulations so that development and investment in the United States thrive,” Emmer’s website States.

in an interview With CoinDesk last month, “They have work to do, there is no doubt about it,” Emer said of the Treasury Department’s foreign asset regulators.

But more broadly, it is believed that some federal regulators – Securities and Exchange Commission In particular – they have gone out of their current jurisdiction to try to crack down on the cryptocurrency market. “Congress deserves a lot of criticism for not doing anything to help direct these bureaucracies, these regulators, to do their job,” he said. He said lawmakers urgently need to pass legislation to provide guidance.

In 2021, Emmer inserted A bipartisan Securities Clarity Act to try and offer some definitions to regulators and the crypto industry alike.

“There has been an unreasonable approach by regulators regarding how federal securities laws are applied to transactions involving the sale of blockchain-based tokens, and this lack of clarity is detrimental to American innovation,” Emmer said in a statement at the time. “Between regulations by enforcement and various legal decisions regarding the classification of these assets, regulatory uncertainty has hampered the growth of blockchain technology, leaving many to take the technology abroad.”

The legislation has yet to pass, but Emmer hopes Congress will take action in the new year, after the fall midterm elections.

“I think what you’re looking at in the community is that Congress is going to have to really move next year in getting some tariffs in there, so that not only can we hold the bureaucracy and regulators to account, but they know what their lanes are,” he told CoinDesk.

In any case, Emmer does not believe that cryptocurrency should be a divided political issue. “I feel like this can’t be partisan,” he said. Axios. “This is literally about looking at America and the opportunities for Americans.”

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