TL;DR US politics took and even stranger spin this week as Congress acted like it knew what crypto was.
It’s a strange world. Just a few years back no one outside of a select circle of geeks and innovators knew what crypto was. Now it’s suddenly cool, and everybody in government wants to seem like they know what they’re talking about. Just like when UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown pretended he liked listening to the Arctic Monkeys but couldn’t name a single track.
This week, Facebook has been summoned to discuss its Libra project with members of Congress who are concerned about the scope for money laundering and other crimes. Bitcoin and cryptocurrency have also featured heavily, as politicians scramble to learn all about the new technology that they only started to care about when a tech giant looked set to grab the keys to their money printing machines.
The best bit was when Republican Representative Warren Davidson began a conversation with members of Congress about the differences between Bitcoin and ‘shitcoins’. Government has realised what we’ve known for years: that crypto is a big deal, and that if you don’t understand it you’re going to get left behind. Not a good look for the world’s #1 superpower.
Donald Trump is a vocal opponent of the new tech, tweeting: ‘I am not a fan of Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies, which are not money, and whose value is highly volatile and based on thin air.’ He waded further into the debate about the risk to the Almighty dollar posed by cryptocurrencies, tweeting: ‘The US dollar will Moon this year! We would have the best monetary policy in the world, if the Stupid Fed just did what I wanted it to!’
Meanwhile Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, known for her socialist policies, commented: ‘We can use crypto to make America the land of opportunity it once was, with Lambos for everyone! Electric Lambos of course because we need to reduce greenhouse gas.’
The Federal Reserve itself was more circumspect about the opportunities of crypto — recognising the benefits of blockchain but keen to retain the degree of control it currently enjoys. ‘Craig, if you’re reading this, we’d love to talk to you about creating a highly centralised cryptocurrency,’ said Fed Chair Jerome Powell. ‘We’ll even let you put your name on the white paper and stop the boys calling you “Faketoshi” in the canteen. Sorry we can’t do anything about McAfee though.’
Not everyone is as bullish about the prospects for the US, however. Watching from afar, China’s President Xi Jinping warned, ‘If you buy the US dollar, you’re going to get rekt.’
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