Discussing Bitcoin Regulation
During an Axios virtual event on Tuesday, Democratic Rep. Invoice Foster of Illinois, co-chair of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus, discussed bitcoin regulation.
Addressing the issue of ransomware attacks and how criminals are requesting bitcoin instead of cash, the congressman argued that “there is a fundamental difference between crypto-assets and real-world assets”. He emphasized introducing a law to empower federal courts to identify crypto users. In addition to that, he also proposed to reverse bitcoin or other cryptocurrency transactions.
He talked about “the condition under which we can reclaim” cryptocurrencies. He gave examples such as ransoms paid to criminals. The congressman mentioned how it’s one of the most important decisions to make regarding crypto assets.
What The Law Should Answer
According to the congressman, the law should answer whether Bitcoin is “truly anonymous or is there a court you can go to, to unmask the participants.” In addition, “is there a court, a third-party, that you can go to reverse fraudulent or mistaken transactions.”
A Small Example
Foster gave an example. “If someone dragged you into an alley and put a gun to your head and say get out your cell phone and transfer all your bitcoin to my wallet. Are you just out of luck, or can you go to court, have them unmask the participant?”
Protection Against Ransomware Attacks
He also added, “can the court — if they decide that the transaction was fraudulent, criminal, or mistaken use its access to very heavily guarded key, cryptographic back door, in a sense, that allows them to cryptographically reverse transactions on a blockchain.”
According to the legislator, such capabilities are required by the government to safeguard itself, its citizens, and businesses against ransomware assaults like the one suffered by Colonial Pipeline.
The Public Response
Many people mocked the congressman and attempted to reverse bitcoin transactions on social media. They claim that he doesn’t understand how bitcoin works. Some people replied to Foster’s criminal charge by claiming they are “not de-facto criminals.”