Sen. Cruz Leads Fight to Remove Harmful Regulations on Cryptocurrency From Wasteful Infrastructure Bill
I recently delivered remarks on the Senate floor urging my colleagues to support my amendment to the infrastructure package that would remove harmful regulations on the emerging cryptocurrency industry.
WATCH: Sen. Cruz on the Senate Floor: Washington Bureaucrats are Trying to Kill Crypto
Upon introducing my amendment, I said:
"I want to thank the good efforts of the senators who have led the work in finding a compromise in this regard. In particular, Sen. Toomey and Sen. Lummis, who've worked very, very hard on this issue. You know, Bismarck said many years ago that there are two things you don't want to see being made-sausage and legislation. When it comes to particularly ugly legislation, this component, the regulation of cryptocurrency, may take the prize for the ugliest we have seen.
"Moments from now, I expect that we're going to see objections to this compromise amendment that was negotiated, if we do in fact see objections. And if the underlying language in this bill goes into effect, it will have devastating effects. There is a new and exciting industry in the United States of cryptocurrency, whether Bitcoin or otherwise, that are generating jobs, entrepreneurs who are creating new values, new hedges against inflation, new opportunities, and it is fast moving. It is dynamic. And this infrastructure bill, a bill being sold to the American people as ‘let's build some roads and bridges,' has one little portion in there designed to obliterate cryptocurrency."
"If we want to legislate on this, [let's] actually do our jobs, be a deliberative body, hold hearings, listen to witnesses, understand the consequences, know what we're doing. That would be the reasonable, rational thing to do. Don't just put out a rule of massive taxes and regulations with no understanding of the consequences on jobs and real people that would be hurt. For whatever reason, the Senate doesn't seem to want to behave reasonably or rationally. And I think the consequences are going to be long standing of this foolish legislation."
"The status quo right now is these new regulations are going into effect and billions of dollars of value are going to be destroyed. Right now today, about 106 million people are using cryptocurrencies around the world. According to at least one recent report, the average annual income in the United States for a blockchain developer is $136,000. That represents a steady career, a good income for someone to own a home, to raise a family, to live a good and comfortable life. Texas is helping lead the way. Texas is taking the lead this past year as a major hub for cryptocurrency businesses, and is even being hailed as the cryptocurrency capital. But all of this is under threat. Regulatory uncertainty is the number one barrier to blockchain adoption, according to 48 percent of respondents in a recent report. They're right to be worried.
"The current bill widens the definition of broker, those who would have to collect information on cryptocurrency consumers and report this information to the IRS. It would force every single participant in the cryptocurrency structure to operate as a financial institution, which would mean they would have to provide consumer information to the IRS, even if they don't have access to that information. This overly broad definition of the word ‘broker' will block rapid innovation in cryptocurrencies and it will endanger the privacy of many Americans and cryptocurrencies. This is wrong.
"So I applaud my colleagues for trying to find an incremental approach. Unfortunately, because the Senator from Vermont objected, that incremental approach hasn't been adopted. So let's exercise a brief shining moment of common sense, and let's recognize if we gathered all 100 senators in this chamber and asked them to stand up and articulate two sentences defining what in the hell a cryptocurrency is, that you would not get greater than five who could answer that question. Given that reality, the barest exercise of prudence would say we shouldn't regulate something we don't yet understand. We should actually take the time to try to understand that. We should hold some hearings, we should consider the consequences. We shouldn't destroy people's lives and livelihoods from complete ignorance.
"My amendment is very simple. It doesn't add anything new to this bill. It just strikes these provisions, [it] says, look, let's not do this until we know what we're talking about. Let's be cautious. Let's be reasonable. Let's not be the number one economic developer for the Communist Party of China by sending cryptocurrencies overseas to our competitors because we've made it impossible for them to succeed here."