Cynthia Lummis, a Wyoming senator, said that the Treasury Department could be more dangerous to innovation in blockchain and cryptocurrency in the United States than either the Securities and Exchange Commission nor the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
Lummis spoke at the Texas Blockchain Summit in Austin Friday. She stated that her concerns about the federal agency stemmed from language regarding brokers of cryptocurrency in the infrastructure bill currently in Congress. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen supports the legislation. According to August’s Senate text, brokers would be required to report transactions involving digital assets exceeding $10,000 to the Internal Revenue Service.
Lummis stated that the proposed definition showed a fundamental misunderstanding of Bitcoin and other digital assets. He claimed that many brokers who were subject to the bill, with little or no knowledge of their clients, would not be able to file reports.
The Texas Blockchain Summit was attended by only 3% of the U.S. Senate. Ted Cruz, a Texas senator, spoke about Bitcoin (BTC), which can be used to “flared” energy instead of “monetizing” it. This means that the extra fuel is not wasted. Cruz was responding to questions about the state’s power grid in February, when the senator went to Cancun to address concerns.
Cruz’s focus was primarily on energy issues, but fellow Senators John Cornyn (and Lummis) both suggested that the key to avoiding misunderstandings in legislation such as the crypto amendment to the infrastructure bill hinged on public engagement and not relying on legislators to educate themselves. Cornyn said that the language used in the infrastructure bill was “a little bit of a shock” for members of Congress who did not have the necessary knowledge to discuss the topic.
Cruz stated that “there are not five U.S. Senate members who could tell you about Bitcoin,” but Lummis claimed she had “enough understanding” after the debate on infrastructure and suggested that the language regarding crypto would be added to the House bill. Congress is struggling to pass long-term legislation regarding infrastructure, budget reconciliation, and the debt ceiling.
Lummis stated that he has worked with both sides who had no interest in Bitcoin or digital assets. He now knows each other and talks about it regularly. Although I think that there will be some changes in that language, it is beginning to look like a pattern to me by the Treasury Department and the IRS that we need to work hard to keep the government’s heavy hand at bay.
Related: The US debt ceiling crisis: A catalyst to crypto’s ultimate decoupling
The infrastructure bill was originally scheduled to be voted on before Sept. 27. However, it was entangled in a $3.5 trillion House proposal. This political maneuver between moderate and progressive Democrats has resulted in Republican attempts to stop the government defaulting on its debt. This week, lawmakers will most likely attempt to move forward.