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Crypto & Politics — An Ugly Combination

by Matthew Harris
, Crypto & Politics — An Ugly Combination

The past week or so has seen quite a bit of “action” in our little cryptosphere, from the announcement of Libra and the MoneyGram and Ripple partnership to rising Bitcoin prices and so much more, it’s been enough to make our heads do an impersonation of Linda Blair.

Unfortunately, not all of that news was good and while politicians as a whole aren’t really at the top of my favorite’s list in the first place, some of the crypto-related mumbles coming out of Washington and elsewhere definitely didn’t help their placement on the shit list either.

So… as it’s late and I’ve already had a rotten day, I figured I might as well jump into this subject with both feet and get it over with. Kind of like ripping off a bandaid.

Libra, Libra, Libra

Facebook has been all over the news on almost every venue you look at for the past week and as soon as the news on Libra broke one of the first things I questioned was how long it would take for various governments to — a) chime in, and b) threaten to take a harder look at the industry as a whole. As it turns out, I should have started a betting pool because it happened in almost record time.

On Tuesday of this week, the chair of the Financial Stability Board (FSB), Randal Quarles, said that the social media giant’s planned expansion into cryptocurrency and retail payments may mean that regulators will need to take a closer look at the industry.

The FSB coordinates financial rules for G20 countries and while there aren’t any current plans for the topic to be discussed at this weekend’s summit of G20 countries in Japan, that could be a different story in the near future. The FSB and many world governments don’t believe that cryptocurrencies currently pose a risk to the world’s financial stability, the FSB said that if Libra’s popularity and use do gain a lot of traction, a different kind of regulatory response would be needed.

Additionally, this past Sunday the central bank forum in Basel, Switzerland, which also happens to house the FSB, said that world’s leaders need to quickly draft and coordinate regulatory responses in anticipation of other technology companies like Facebook moving into finance and the risks that they could pose.

Like I said, it didn’t take long at all.

Trump’s Failed Fed Pick Eyeing Crypto-Job

With Fox News apparently failing to offer him the standard Trump Admin “Severance Package,” Stephen Moore appears to be considering a position with the crypto startup Decentral. As you probably remember, Moore was President Trump’s planned nominee for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board until about a minute-and-a-half later when he bowed out of the running.

His resignation letter said, in part, “The unrelenting attacks on my character have become untenable for me and my family and 3 more months of this would be too hard on us.” Translation — his words about women came back to bite him in the ass and he knew he’d never get the seat.

So, “big deal” you say. “The guy has to work somewhere” right?

Well, just think about these five things.

1 — Moore is a conservative economist.

2 — Decentral is a start-up that bills itself as a crypto-central bank that would regulate digital currency. Kind of like the Fed controls the U.S. fiat system.

3 — Trump hand-pick him for the Fed… that’s reason enough for me.

4 — An advisor to Trump’s 2016 Presidential campaign, Michael Gruen, is Decentral’s chief marketing officer.

5 — Decentral’s general counsel, Ralph Benko, was deputy general counsel for the Reagan White House.

Keep that in mind over the coming weeks, and even as you finish this article, and see if you still think politicians working in the crypto-world is a good thing.

A Crypto Ban?

A few weeks back or so I did an article or two on what the 2020 Presidential candidates had or hadn’t said regarding cryptocurrencies and at the time, there weren’t any that were accepting crypto for the fundraising. Nor was there really any news regarding how politicians felt. Now it looks like some representatives in one state want to ensure that these types of donations never happen in their state.

And this time it’s the Democrats!

I’m not sure if this one just slipped by me or it wasn’t widely-reported or what, but back on May 14, Democratic Reps Rick Hansen, Jamie Becker-Finn, Raymond Dehn, and Peter Fischer introduced Minnesota House Bill 2884 which hopes to outlaw donations that are not “backed by a government-issued legal tender.”

Not only do they want to ban the acceptance, they want to make violations of the law an outright felony!

The bill reads in full:

Section 1. [10.161] DIGITAL CURRENCY PROHIBITION.
An individual, political committee, political fund, principal campaign committee, or party unit may not solicit or accept from any source a contribution or donation of any digital unit of exchange, including but not limited to bitcoin, that is not backed by a government-issued legal tender. An individual, political committee, political fund, principal campaign committee, or party unit that knowingly solicits or accepts any digital unit of exchange is subject to a civil penalty imposed by the board of up to $3,000. A person who knowingly accepts any digital unit of exchange in violation of this section is guilty of a felony.

If you’re in Minnesota, whether you plan on making any political contributions or not, it might be a good time to let your representatives know how you feel.

In the meantime… let’s continue to enjoy the positives of late.

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