Hundreds of thousands investors simply had billions taken out of their collective electronic pockets. However, crypto remains the untouchable queen in the aging marble halls of the US Capitol.
Certainly, few lawmakers are waving — or at least limply holding — red flags following the collapse of cryptocurrency exchange FTX earlier this month. While hundreds of millions of dollars in happiness, retirement, and even basic health care have been wiped out in the blink of a brother’s sly eye, Congress is cool, calm, and collectively, well, stupid.
“It’s not really an issue that I know a lot about,” said Bernie Sanders, an independent U.S. senator from Vermont who runs as a Democrat every four years.
“I don’t really understand the technology,” says U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley, a tech-savvy Republican from Missouri.
House Democratic leaders appear to be on the same (albeit outdated) page. When asked about plans to deal with the volatile world of cryptocurrencies after the FTX collapse, US Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), the current chairman of the House Democratic Caucus and (presumed) future House Democratic leader, declined. “Well, I think that’s going to be dealt with in the Financial Services Committee, I guess,” he says.
Speaking to lawmakers, it seems like Congress continues to struggle with defining what “money” is, even as most of us have come a long way from the nation’s representatives and continue to ask when we’ll get our money — digital or otherwise — back. And despite the current crypto-collapse, according to Jeffries and many other powerful party leaders, there is time to kill.
“There’s a whole range of issues that I think we’re looking to address, and I can imagine that the situation surrounding the cryptocurrency industry will be one of them as it develops,” Jeffries adds.
According to US Senator Cynthia Lamis (R-Wyoming), the rise of cryptocurrencies and their associated dangers have caught Congress by surprise.
“I think a lot of members of Congress believe that the digital asset industry can take a backseat because it’s immature,” Lummis says. “It’s growing faster than people realize. And now that Elon Musk has announced that he can use Twitter as a payment platform, I mean, this industry is much more mature than people realize. Time. It’s time to adjust. It’s time to put boards on it.”
Lummis is not just a Republican. Wyoming is a state that aspires to become the “crypto capital” of the United States. She was a founding member of the House Freedom Forum. Like the party itself, it has gone MAGA in recent years, but its libertarian traits remain pronounced, and crypto is the best thing since chopped gold bars for the laissez-faire Lummises of the world.
Although Lummis opposes regulation, she has been out in front calling for restrictions — even “regulations,” though that’s still considered a four-letter word in most Republican circles. She wants bumpers, at least.
“There will be companies that deal with digital assets that will fail even after they are regulated, but at least we will have consumer protection and reporting, and the most important thing is the separation of customer assets from the assets of the financial institution. “- says Lammis. “What happened with FTX was that they borrowed the assets of the customers.”