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McHenry at Digital Assets Hearing: 2021 Was the Year of the Cryptocurrency

Washington, December 8, 2021 -

Today, the House Financial Services Committee is holding a hearing with the CEOs of six digital asset organizations. Digital assets have the potential to revolutionize the way Americans participate in our financial system. Lawmakers must fully understand and embrace this new technology, not stifle it with burdensome regulations.

Watch Republican Leader Patrick McHenry’s (NC-10) opening remarks here.

Read Republican Leader McHenry’s opening remarks as prepared for delivery:

“Thank you, Madam Chair.

“2021 was the year of the cryptocurrency.

“More Americans than ever before are taking notice of this transformational shift in technology.

“DeFi, DAOs, NFTs, and Web3—jargon that used to only pop up on crypto Twitter—are quickly becoming part of the lexicon.

“Technology—and its adoption—are moving fast.

“Entrepreneurs and innovators are building and deploying this next generation of the internet. And firms, like the ones our witnesses represent, are making it easier for Americans to participate in the digital asset ecosystem.

“But, as with any new and fast-growing industry, there are questions that need to be answered.

“Let’s be clear, this technology is already regulated. The question for policymakers is whether you know enough about this technology, which is neither fish nor fowl, to have a serious debate.

“How do we make sure the cryptocurrency revolution happens in the U.S. and not overseas?

“I should be clear—the goal for Committee Republicans today will be to listen, learn, and ask questions. This technology is new and exciting. It promises a new direction for financial economies, services, and products.

“Of course, we need reasonable rules of the road, but the knee-jerk reaction of lawmakers to regulate out of fear of the unknown will only stifle American ingenuity and put us at a competitive disadvantage.

 “Throughout history we’ve seen examples of harmful overregulation around the world.

“In the late 1800s, England reacted to the rise of cars with laws that required three people to operate a vehicle at all times. One to drive, a second to fuel up the vehicle, and a third to stand in front of the car and waive a red flag.

“Or more recently, Skype—one of the video conferencing platforms we’ve all come to rely on throughout the pandemic to work, get our kids to class, and even participate in Congressional hearings—was illegal in most of the world when it launched. There wasn’t a regulatory infrastructure in place that allowed for this novel technology.

“And finally, when an invention called the Internet began to boom, U.S. lawmakers and regulators struggled to fully grasp the immense possibilities of this innovation out the gate.

“Now, it would be nearly impossible to go a day without using the Internet to communicate, move from point A to point B, or purchase necessities for our families.

“I would argue that the nascent technology we’re discussing today will have just as much of an impact on our daily lives. That’s why we must get this right.

“My fear, however, is that my Democratic colleagues have already made up their minds. And this hearing will serve only to justify the legislative proposal they have already cooked up. I hope that’s not the case. 

“I hope we can work together in a bipartisan way to provide the clarity our innovators and entrepreneurs need. This will allow these markets to thrive and will protect consumers by giving clear rules of the road to prevent fraud and manipulation.

“Forcing the private sector to navigate unclear public statements and regulation by enforcement is the wrong approach.

“So is demonizing an entire industry based off the headlines garnered by bad actors. Understandably, there are concerns with the use of cryptocurrency for nefarious activities.

“But you know what else is used for ‘nefarious activities?’ Cash.

“So, let’s dispel the rumor now that digital asset technology is a looming threat to our financial system. Instead, we should work to fully understand the opportunities the next generation of the internet could provide to Americans.

“I look forward to hearing from our witnesses about the potential of digital assets.

“I yield back.”


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