Upgrading and maintaining roads, bridges and airports is a topic that both sides of the political aisle can agree on. But when it came time for the US Senate to vote on an infrastructure bill, cryptocurrencies ended up being thrown in the mix and lots of people were frustrated.
To better understand what is going on in Washington, Invezz spoke with Ian Kane, co-founder of Unbanked, a US-based cryptocurrency banking service.
The infrastructure bill
The US Senate succeeded in passing a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that includes language that requires cryptocurrency brokers to report customer information to the Internal Revenue Service. But the language is vague to the point where it defines a broker as any entity “responsible for regularly providing any service effectuating transfers of digital assets on behalf of another person”.
In other words, this means that crypto miners and stakers, along with software developers and many other individuals with no customers would be impacted.
In theory, this means that two friends transferring Bitcoin to each other to settle a bill would fit under the definition of a broker.
Is the crypto industry losing the battle?
The cryptocurrency is naturally up in arms over the vague language that represents a potential headwind for the entire industry. CNBC commented that the crypto industry is “a little bruised” — a take that Kane agrees with. He told Invezz:
“I think they lost the battle but plan to win the war.”
The crypto industry is unified and won new support from US lawmakers. US Rep. Anna Eshoo, a close ally and friend to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, wrote that the definition of a crypto broker is “problematic” and needs to be amended.
Today I urged Speaker Pelosi to amend the cryptocurrency broker language in the Senate’s infrastructure bill.
— Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (@RepAnnaEshoo) August 12, 2021
The damages of keeping the “exceptionally vague” language will push many crypto companies outside of the US, Kane said. This is a selling point that needs to be articulated by crypto and blockchain companies.
The cryptocurrency industry is no stranger to fighting for its interests. Companies have been engaged in a decade-long pursuit to convince lawmakers and the public it is not only a legitimate store of value, but a tool that can “improve people’s lives,” Kane said.
The Blockchain Caucus and the Blockchain Association bring a “professional tone” to help in the fight while individual people are leveraging the power of social media to make their voices heard. Kane said:
“I would say the community is kind of like kicking a hornet’s nest and if you steer them in the wrong direction or do wrong by them, you’re definitely going to hear from them. If we’ve learned anything — social media is an exceptionally powerful tool in terms of getting your points across”
Fortunately, people from both sides of the aisles can rally around the shared cause of promoting the crypto industry. Rational observers agree that the US is the world leader in embracing new technology and letting capitalism play out and improve people’s lives.
Once the industry gets its message across, it “becomes a no-brainer” that the crypto industry needs to flourish and become void of overregulation.
Listen to the people
Out-of-touch politicians that don’t understand the crypto and blockchain universe are “doing a disservice” to everybody, including themselves, Kane said. Many Senators are over the age of 60 and are simply strangers to modern technology.
These politicians can “set us back years” by introducing punitive policies that go against what many people want. He said:
“People want better control of their financial assets. That’s it. Most people in the industry understand that if you overregulate this stuff and you put these ridiculous restraints on people and you don’t allow and embrace technology to thrive, that’s going to be a problem.”
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