Congress unsure about how to handle crypto-currencies

2 NEWS Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON (WDTN) – Congress is trying to figure out what to do about crypto-currencies, like Bitcoin.

“In order to move forward in a productive way and give these innovations the room to flourish in a safe and sound way, we need to sort through the static,” says Senator Mike Crapo.

On Thursday, the Senate Banking committee heard from two experts with polar opposite views. 

One warned against it, saying, “Crypto is the mother of all scams and bubbles.”

While the other called crypto-currencies revolutionary: “It will be as significant for freedom, prosperity, and human flourishing as the birth of the internet.”

The Director of Research at a crypto-policy non-profit, said the technology could make financial transactions easier and more secure.

But an NYU professor told the committee crypto-currencies are largely used by criminals, saying it’s total, utter nonsense.  

While critics urge Congress to crack down, advocates say any regulation should give the evolving technology room to grow.

Senator Sherrod Brown says the technology has potential, adding, “As with the internet in the 1990s, we need a light touch pro-innovation policy, particularly in helping people who are un-banked and under-served by the traditional banking system.”

But he’s concerned about Americans who could fall victim to scams or fraud.

“We don’t have the consumer protections for cyber-currency or for bitcoin any better than we frankly have it in the real dollar financial system,” he said.

Brown said Congress still has work to do, to better understand crypto-currencies and protect consumers.

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