Democratic Representative Brad Sherman’s got beef. He wants “a more efficient way to buy a burger,” specifically with crypto, but he can’t find a burger in Washington DC that he can buy it with. We know this because he highlighted his concerns during a hearing on stablecoins outlining the complicated hoops he’d have to jump through to make this happen:
“Currently, if I want to buy a burger with a stablecoin or a crypto coin, I have to find an Uber, get them to drive me to the one burger stand that’s rumored to exist in Cleveland, Ohio where you can use a stablecoin or a crypto coin to buy a burger,” said Sherman.
Although Sherman is a well-known crypto critic, he highlights an increasing national sentiment: frustrations are growing across the country over slow-going crypto regulation. Treasury Undersecretary for Domestic Finance, Nellie Liang, showed an understanding of the need for a regulatory framework, saying “we hurt both innovation and we increase risks if legislation is not passed.” Liang also cited the urgency of these efforts due to the “rapid growth in the market,” saying she anticipates some guidelines to be released from the White House within the coming weeks.
This hearing, titled “Digital Assets and the Future of Finance: The President’s Working Group on Financial Markets’ Report on Stablecoins,” centered around whether stablecoins should be regulated at the state or federal level and whether private institutions should be able to issue their own currencies—a topic heavily influenced by Meta (formerly Facebook) and their failed attempts at their own privately-issued coin.
Liang made it clear that the Committee’s intentions aren’t to burden these projects with massive regulatory requirements, but instead to give them the regulatory framework they need to both thrive and maintain a secure environment for investors. They recognize the need to move quickly but thoughtfully to provide a nurturing environment that keeps investors safe.
Good thing blockchain is made with investor security in mind, and this is evidenced by the massive crypto crackdown that occurred this week in New York City this week. Authorities seized $3.6 of $4.5 billion dollars in stolen crypto from a New York couple. They are accused of laundering these funds from Bitfinex in 2016 but, thanks to blockchain technology, U.S. Law enforcement was able to track them down in “the department’s largest financial seizure ever,” according to US Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco.
“This shows that even when sophisticated money laundering techniques are used, the indelible blockchain records usually allow law enforcement to link criminal activity to individuals,” added co-founder of cryptocurrency analysis firm Elliptic, Tom Robinson.
While the White House takes a moment to find their footing, investors can find hope in the approval of Valkyrie’s recent crypto miner ETF approval. Their Bitcoin Miners exchange-traded fund got approval for listing on the Nasdaq earlier this week, which will invest over two-thirds of its funding in projects that “derive at least 50% of their revenue or profits from bitcoin mining operations and/or from providing specialized chips, hardware, and software or other services to companies engaged in bitcoin mining.”
Valkyrie also expressed intentions to focus on mining companies that develop and foster eco-friendly mining practices. Although recent findings have shown that Bitcoin mining doesn’t account for a massive share of our global carbon footprint, green mining is still at the top of many developers’ priority lists. Perhaps it was this piece of their mission that helped Valkyrie obtain listing while so many others wait in the wings.
In other news, Bitcoin is finding further use cases globally as a crowdfunding tool for NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) in Ukraine. A study done by Elliptic shows that crypto donations to NGOs in Ukraine increased by over 900% in 2021, totaling just over $570,000 with most of it being donated in the past year.
According to this report, this stock-piling began with fiat currencies, and the crypto influx is now funding troops, building military resources, and sourcing medical equipment in the event of unrest. Cryptocurrencies donated include Litecoin, Ethereum, stablecoins, and, of course, Bitcoin.
Crypto has the potential to improve many facets of global existence, from buying burgers to providing crucial aid to people who need it most. It’s accessible, it’s easy to transact, and it’s secure thanks to transparent blockchain technology. If crypto is the key to a fast-paced, thriving economy, regulation is the door to that future. With all of these use cases presenting themselves to governments around the world, all regulators have to do is let crypto open it.