US Congress Crackdown On Digital Currencies – Cause For Concern?
The “Combating Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing, and Counterfeiting Act of 2017” was recently discussed in a hearing by the Senate Judicial Committee of the U.S. Congress. This particular bill is one of the few bills out there that mention “digital currencies” and it has left some Bitcoiners somewhat worried. The question is, is there really any grounds to worry?
The reality of the situation is that even though S.1241, the above-mentioned bill, might seem particularly scary to some people, in truth it is just a proposal at the moment. A proposal can be proposed and formulated at any given time by senators. In truth, many of these proposed bills are never passed in the U.S. Congress. So while most of the crypto community is panicking and making unfounded speculations on the rumors they have heard, you can rest at ease and pay close attention to this proposed bill and its progress like a sane person.
The major causes of this sudden onset of turbulence amongst the users in the crypto community are the lines in the 13th section of S.1241. This section suggests that the words “digital currency” should be added to title 31, a section of the United States Code that pertains to guidelines for money laundering.
So while this is all fine and dandy, what exactly does this suggestion mean? To put it in simple terms, if for any reason this section of the bill actually passes, which at the given moment isn’t even remotely close to being done, then the U.S. regulators would gain the right to control cryptocurrencies whichever way they see fit in an attempt to make it more difficult to use said cryptocurrencies in illegal activities. The problem is that this might negatively affect those of us who are using cryptocurrencies in a completely legal manner.
Should We Be Concerned?
At this point in time, this bill is somewhat of an empty threat. Let’s lay everything out on the table, S.1241 is simply being introduced for the first time as an idea and the first hearing has just been held so that everyone knows what’s being proposed. This bill isn’t anywhere near being finalized or completed or passed, it simply sprouted and we are starting to discuss it, and that’s all.
You also have to take into account that many bills which do pass into laws undergo heavy revisions. Essentially, this means that even if somehow this bill did pass, there is not even a guarantee that Section 13 of this bill will make it into the final version. In other words, there is no reason to worry yet.
At this moment, S.1241 has just been introduced, and there are plenty more steps that it would have to go through to become finalized. After its introduction, the bill will have to be passed by the Senate.
If the Senate passes S.1241, then it will go into the hands of the House of Representatives. If all of these are cleared, then the bill will also have to be signed by President Trump before it can be finalized and becomes a law. That’s a lot of steps to clear, and there is no guarantee that revisions and reductions won’t happened along the line.
As we keep mentioning, S.1241 is at its birthing stage. There is a huge climb ahead of it before it can be passed into a law.
We keep stressing this climb because of the current state of American politics. Its position makes us think that it’s very unlikely that any version of S.1241 will be passed into a law anytime soon. We have witnessed the type of a stalemate that our current 115th U.S.
Congress is in, which leads us to believe that passing anything these days is a pretty lengthy process and has a high chance of failure. All of this is due to constant head-butting of our Republican Party with the heavy resistance from the Democrats.
Here is a clear-cut example of how unlikely it is to get anything passed these days. Remember the so-called “Trumpcare” bill? This bill was proposed by the Republican Party, who currently hold the White House and have majorities in the Senate, and yet here we are. There have been three failed attempts to pass this bill, and no Trumpcare is in sight.
Trumpcare was and still is a high priority bill, so what chance does a smaller, less vital bill have to pass when our own politicians can’t make up their mind about the country’s health system? It’s safe to say that S.1241 doesn’t stand a single chance of passing anytime soon.
Let’s add a few more things to the mix. The 2018 midterm elections are right around the corner and the Republicans are concentrating on passing things like the last-ditch tax cut bill to please the voters who will ensure they are back in the game next term. This means that everything else, such as the S.1241 bill, isn’t a priority right now.
If by some miracle, S.1241 does gain some sort of traction and starts heading towards approval, we will see it coming from a mile away. The legislative process has recently become a long and convoluted ordeal, which gives us plenty of time to get our cryptocurrency portfolios ready for whatever is heading our way.
If S.1241 does pass through the Senate, then we should really start to pay close attention to what’s going to happen next. At that point, all of those who are part of the crypto community will have grounds to legitimately start freaking out. Fortunately, none of this is a concern right now, so keep calm and mine on.
We also neglected to mention what our President, Donald Trump, thinks of S.1241. After careful calculations, we honestly believe that there is absolutely no way to determine whether President Trump will even sign the S.1241 bill in the first place.
Witness During Congress Hearing
Remember those two beautiful words that are being added to S.1241?
As it turns out, according to a member of the Board of Directors of Coinbase Global, Inc., Kathryn Haun Rodriguez, a former attorney at the Department Of Justice who was a witness at the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing, those two words were barely even mentioned during the hearing. In fact, she only mentioned the word “cryptocurrency” a single time in her official testimony.
So, why was Ms. Rodriguez at the meeting and what was the testimony all about? The reason why she had to use the word cryptocurrency was as part of a description to describe her career history.
She mentioned that she teaches a class on financial technologies and cryptocurrency at Stanford University as well as noted that she recently joined the board of directors at Coinbase. The main reason why she was there was to talk about promoting the ability of U.S. law enforcement in obtaining foreign bank records.
In the end, it turns out the main objective of S.1241 has very little to do with cryptocurrencies and a lot to do with preventing the American people from hiding the identities of bank account owners. And here we all thought that the cryptocurrency world is nearing its end.
US Congress Crackdown On Digital Currencies Conclusion
Is S.1241 something we should worry about?
Realistically, there is absolutely no reason for any of you to fall into a panic about this bill. As we mentioned countless times above, this bill is in its super early stages and currently presents no danger whatsoever. However, we should keep an eye out on S.1241 because it does have the potential to change some things regarding cryptocurrencies.
While the chances for these changes to occur are pretty slim, they are still there and shouldn’t be ignored. As Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once said: “There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action.”