Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, went viral on Monday after giving a speech on the Senate floor critical of his colleagues’ attempt to add a provision inside the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that would put in place tougher tax enforcement requirements for cryptocurrency transactions.
He essentially told his colleagues that most of them could not tell the difference between a Bitcoin and an old New York City subway token.
“Let’s recognize that if we gathered all 100 senators in this chamber and asked them to stand up and articulate two sentences defining what in the hell a cryptocurrency is, that you would not get greater than five who could answer that question,” he said.
He said it is wrong to regulate something we don’t understand and called on future discussions on the matter.
Cruz pointed out elements in the current bill that he said he found troubling. The definition of “broker” is “overly broad” that he said will hamper new innovation and “force every single participant in the cryptocurrency structure to operate as a financial institution.”
He said they would have to provide consumer information to the Internal Revenue Service “even if they don’t have access to that information.”
“We shouldn’t destroy people’s lives and livelihoods from complete ignorance,” Cruz said.
Bill Barhydt, the CEO of Abra Global, an app that allows users to trade cryptocurrencies, retweeted Cruz’s speech, and posted, “Senator @tedcruz 100% nails it. Why are we trying to regulate something we absolutely don’t understand?!!”
Bloomberg reported on Monday that the infrastructure bill will have “language for broad oversight of virtual currencies” after the amendment was blocked. The report pointed out that there is still a long process before the language becomes law.
Rep. Tom Emmer, a Republican and co-chair of the Blockchain Caucus, took to Twitter to urge the House to “consider amendments to this provision that exempt entities that don’t conduct crypto transactions and keep blockchain software development, cryptocurrency mining, and more in the United States.”
The Wall Street Journal last week reported that the tax aimed at brokers could raise $28 billion over the next decade to help pay for infrastructure.