KEY POINTS

  • Rep. Emmer believes Bitcoin's advantage over the dollar, fiat and even Facebook's Libra is its decentralization
  • The representative believes devaluing the dollar will  not work and people would look for ways to protect their funds by putting it in stores of value
  • Rep. Emmer says he's confident of Bitcoin's future because it has a lot of talented smart young people working on it

Bitcoin is not going away and will "get stronger" after the coronavirus crisis is over, says Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN).

Rep. Emmer, a known crypto advocate, believes the benchmark cryptocurrency’s main advantage over the dollar, the digital dollar and even Facebook’s Libra is its decentralization. In an interview with Morgan Creek CEO Anthony Pompliano, he argues that all the other alternatives mentioned have someone in control.

“I prefer that if we’re working on a cryptocurrency, you are in control of your wallet, I am in control of my wallet, and you and I are doing the exchange between us with no big brother watching,” he said, citing how Know-Your-Customer (KYC) rules have become very stringent to the point that opening an account requires the bank to see the person's transactions from another bank.

Just like how Bitcoin was created during the 2008 financial crisis, people would start looking for "stores of value". He cited how people in Washington thought printing more money is okay because the U.S. has exports and people will continue to buy American products. Emmer said devaluing the U.S. dollar is not going to work and people would look for ways to protect their funds.

When it comes to regulation, Emmer thinks Bitcoin will follow the path of least resistance. He cited a bill they are working on that would not require crypto companies to have a money transmitting license in every state.

“It will remove the patchwork because not everyone understands crypto,” he said. For it to happen, pressure must come from the bottom. Emmer said this pressure would come from the "talent and capital" that could possibly leave the country and set up where laws and regulators are favorable. “If we want to be behind, which we already are, we can continue to let this go.” 

In 2019, crypto exchange Poloniex shut down its operations for U.S.-based customers, citing regulatory concerns. But other exchanges like Binance found ways to enter the United States through partnerships and acquisitions. Binance US is a separate exchange for U.S. customers, which was planning to launch futures trading in the country by acquiring an already-licensed firm.

Emmer also cited the move by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) to allow banks to take custody of cryptocurrency as a positive signal for the industry. Commending OCC acting chief Brian Brooks for making a significant contribution to Bitcoin’s future, he said it’s also a signal that Bitcoin is not going away because banks are something familiar to traditional and retail investors alike. 

Emmer added that he’s confident with the future of Bitcoin because it has a lot of talented and smart young people who would figure out a way to get around the rules. He said the government should lean on the crypto community to learn more about the industry.

Emmer lamented how many of his colleagues in both parties still do not understand cryptocurrency. “When they hear Bitcoin, all they hear is Silk Road,” he said, referring to the notorious underground website that used Bitcoin to facilitate drug and other illegal transactions. He said the recent Twitter hack, which was "framed" as a Bitcoin hack by the media, was actually the social media site's fault that it was compromised.

Crypto currencies Crypto currencies, despite regulatory grey areas, have been gradually making inroads into commerce in recent years with bitcoin leading the way Photo: AFP / Justin TALLIS