The Congressional Blockchain Caucus Explained
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The Congressional Blockchain Caucus Explained

Could some US politicians be seeing crypto as a cross-party issue where they can sweep up votes?
Neither the author, Tim Fries, nor this website, The Tokenist, provide financial advice. Please consult our website policy prior to making financial decisions.

In an interview last week called “Crypto vs. SEC” on the Paul Barron Network, Congressman Tom Emmer spoke about the work of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus. He pointed the group out as the go-to for all matters related to blockchain and cryptocurrency technology in the US congress.

The increasing adoption and ever-growing number of users within the crypto space appear to have caught the attention of some US lawmakers spurring on their interest and participation.

Speaking on this, Emmer highlighted the growing public pressure on Congressmen regarding digital assets:

“When a US Senator gets 40,000 calls in one day from the community, the industry, people that are investors, and others, they take notice.” 

Emmer, who is one of the four chairs of the Caucus, said that members are keeping up to date with the fast-paced nature of the industry through their interests and offices. 

“The Blockchain Caucus  is where a group of members who are similarly interested in a topic actually compare notes and can formulate some strategies and policies.”

He further highlighted the importance of cryptocurrencies to empower people who have never been involved in the financial system.

“We’ve got 55 million Americans in the crypto market; we have a market that is almost $2 trillion in value and is the fastest-growing thing we have seen in a decade. Let’s look at it as an opportunity and as a government, let’s try to work with this industry and the people driving it to grow it and create even bigger opportunities in the United States.”

This comes against the backdrop of comments made by the SEC chair, Gary Gensler, about cryptocurrencies and his agency’s move to regulate the industry. The SEC, along with lawmaker Senator Warren and Treasury Secretary Yellen, has received backlash from the crypto industry for what has been regarded as a stifling approach for innovation.

At the beginning of 2021, the Caucus attempted to introduce the “Blockchain Regulatory Certainty Act” — a title that reflects the long-awaited regulatory certainty that surrounds digital assets in the US.

What is the Congressional Blockchain Caucus?

The Congressional Blockchain Caucus is a bipartisan group of members of Congress who make recommendations on regulations for cryptocurrencies to Congress. Established in the 114th congress, the Caucus has enjoyed growth in members with a broadening focus.  It understands the significant role congress has to play in the industry’s evolution and seeks to offer a non-restrictive regulatory framework for the development of the crypto space.

The group allows participants in the crypto space and the government to discuss blockchain for how it can improve various sectors of the economy, such as identity management, managing health care records, and intellectual property rights.

Recently there has been increased support for Bitcoin from members of Congress. Senator Ted Cruze suggested possible solutions to the Bitcoin mining dilemma. He urged Bitcoin miners to use natural gas wasted through oil flaring to carry out their operations. The co-founder of Coinmetrics.io, Nic Carter, lauded the Senator’s sentiments and claimed to have come to a similar conclusion from his research.

It should be noted that Senator Cruz is not currently a listed member of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus.

Reports suggest the Biden administration may be planning executive orders on cryptocurrencies. With this in mind, the recent pro-Bitcoin bias seen among some congress members may be motivated by mid-term elections in 2022. Being seen as supportive of Bitcoin may help members of congress garner support and retain their seats, as suggested by recent opinion polls on digital assets.

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Growing Public Support For Bitcoin

A recent poll, by data analytics company YouGov, has shown that about 27% of Americans want to see Bitcoin become a legal tender alongside the US dollar. The majority of those in support were young Americans between 18-44, while those against it were older than 55. ‘Not understanding the technology’ was the reason most given by this demographic for not supporting Bitcoin.

The slow recovery rate from the pandemic, unprecedented stimulus spending, increasing inflation, institutional distrust, and the proposed reconciliation bill have all arguably increased Bitcoin adoption rates. Cryptocurrency is being widely seen as a strategy by some to hedge against growing concerns about the US economy.

All these considered together point to why politicians are increasingly going against the White House approach to the crypto industry. 

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