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US Senate Banking Chair Floats the Possibility of Banning Crypto

Despite suggesting a ban, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown stated that doing so would be “very difficult” because activity would “go offshore.”

Sherrod Brown, chairman of the United States Banking Committee, has suggested that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) consider a cryptocurrency ban.

Brown made the remarks during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on December 18, though the senator quickly added that a ban would be difficult to enforce:

“We want them to do what they need to do at the same time, possibly prohibiting it, though prohibiting it is difficult because it would go offshore, and who knows how that would work.”

In response to a question from the host about Senator Jon Tester’s belief that cryptocurrencies should be banned, Brown stated that he has the “same thought.”

The Ohio representative stated that he has spent the last 18 months “educating” his colleagues and the public about the dangers of cryptocurrencies, calling for immediate and aggressive action.

“I’ve already gone to the Treasury and the Secretary and requested a government-wide assessment of all regulatory agencies [….] The SEC has been particularly aggressive, and we need to move forward in that manner, as well as legislatively if necessary,” he added.

Brown cited FTX’s shocking collapse as an example of why a ban might be worthwhile, but added that it “is only one huge part of this problem.”

He claimed cryptocurrencies are “dangerous” and a “threat to national security,” citing North Korean cybercrime, drug trafficking, human trafficking, and terrorism financing as examples of problems they have exacerbated.

The chairman of the Banking Committee has been sceptical of cryptocurrency for over a year, most recently raising concerns about stablecoin issuance and cryptocurrency advertising and marketing campaigns.

Brown issued a statement on Nov. 30 calling for a “all-of-government” approach to industry regulation, and on Dec. 13 praised the US Department of Justice for filing criminal charges against former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, who is currently imprisoned in the Bahamas awaiting extradition to the US.

Senator Brown’s colleagues do not appear to agree with him.

Senator Tom Emmer stated on November 23 that FTX’s demise was not due to a “crypto failure,” but rather to centralised actors.

Emmer also believes that crippling regulation would stifle industry innovation in the United States, causing it to lose its global market dominance — something many believe is already happening.

It should also be noted that the incoming chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, Patrick McHenry, is a supporter of cryptocurrency. This week, he called for a halt to cryptocurrency tax changes in order to obtain more clarity on the original, “poorly drafted” tax provision.

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