Today Representative Don Beyer (D-VA) introduced the Digital Asset Market Structure and Investor Protection Act. The legislation seeks “to protect consumers and promote innovation” by sweeping Bitcoin with other digital assets into existing financial regulatory structures.
As Beyer put it, “Innovation in the digital asset sector is creating new goods and services every day as well as many new, high-quality jobs. The United States should provide a legal and regulatory environment which promotes this type of innovation and growth.”
It is clear Beyer finds the best method to promote technological innovation at home is through increased regulation and government oversight. The bill’s introduction implies Beyer believes citizens are not capable of assessing and mitigating the inherent risks of being the custodians of their own wealth, despite the fact that humans have been choosing and custodying their own hard stores of value for thousands of years.
Beyer went on to say that while “Digital assets and blockchain technology hold great promise,” and while it’s clear Bitcoin is here to stay, “Unfortunately, the current digital asset market structure and regulatory framework is ambiguous and dangerous for investors and consumers.”
Since 2008, tens of millions of ordinary Americans have adopted Bitcoin as a store of value and medium of exchange. It is the most decentralized digital asset ever created. Though, this bill fails to differentiate technically it from all of the other 11,000 plus centralized altcoins in existence.
The inability to differentiate between Bitcoin and the thousands of centralized securities that came in its wake, all of which are functionally pump-and-dump, get-rich-quick schemes, like Ether, is what perpetuates the misunderstanding among congressmen that Bitcoin is somehow anonymous or a vehicle for money laundering, ransom, and fraud, when in fact, buying Bitcoin is like leaving footprints in cement. Every transaction in the history of the Bitcoin ledger is publicly accessible. Physical U.S. dollars are a far better tool for facilitating criminal activity, because they can be used completely anonymously.
Nonetheless, Beyer persisted, “Digital asset holders have been subjected to rampant fraud, theft, and market manipulation for years, yet Congress has hitherto ignored the entreaties of industry experts and federal regulators to create a comprehensive legal framework. Our laws are behind the times, and my bill would start the long overdue process of updating them to give digital asset holders and investors basic protections.”
The bill comes just days after the senate rejected a proposed amendment to exclude U.S. Bitcoin entities from a “broker” designation. Despite being rejected, the proposed amendment received a commendable pushback from bitcoiners, businesses, and lawmakers alike, which identified many potential further voices and leaders who could help define policy on Bitcoin in Washington.
The Beyer bill’s seen and unseen implications are sure to become apparent in the following days and weeks as bitcoiners and legal experts parse it. Whatever its implication, Bitcoin is still completely transparent, and completely distributed. It has no centralized authority. It can’t be hacked. It can’t be inflated past 21 million. And Bitcoin will never be subject to any form of overt administrative control.
This is a developing story.