Former US Congressman and budget director, Mick Mulvaney, believes that the passage of federal “digital assets” legislation in the United States is a real possibility this year. Mulvaney, who co-founded the Congressional Blockchain Caucus and worked as acting White House chief of staff until March 2020, says that crypto reform legislation isn’t the province of a single political party. He argues that there is “fairly bipartisan” support for blockchain and cryptocurrency legislation, with both Democrats and Republicans interested in the topic and keen to know more. Mulvaney also believes that Decentralized Finance (DeFi) protocols have some distinct advantages over their centralized counterparts, such as greater transparency and compliance processes such as know-your-customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) checks.
Mulvaney argues that regulators have dropped the ball when it comes to oversight of financial institutions, such as Silicon Valley Bank, which have conducted fraudulent activities. He points out that the Trump administration has not been entirely to blame, but certain banking regulations have been loosened, leading to some banks not being considered “systemically important financial institutions”. Mulvaney argues that bipartisan support for crypto and blockchain legislation can be relied on, as issues such as antipathy to China, suspicion of big tech, and an interest in crypto and blockchain cut across party lines.
Mulvaney is now a strategic adviser to Astra Protocol, which bills itself as “the next generation of compliance.” The platform is a decentralized KYC system and aims to bring the financial regulatory standards of over 155 countries to the crypto industry, whilst preserving anonymity. “Astra Protocol has no idea what transpired between a DeFi protocol and a regulatory delegate,” the project states. The system enables a DeFi project or exchange to know that an individual is who they say they are, and not on a sanctions list, a drug dealer, a child pornographer, or a bot.
Mulvaney hopes that the Biden administration engages in open-minded discussion on the subject of crypto and blockchain, rather than taking sides. He believes that SEC Chairman Gary Gensler is dominating the debate and that he is not healthy for the administration to have a regulator taking sides. Mulvaney argues that the CFTC, which would regulate crypto more like a commodity, rather than a security could take the lead on crypto. Mulvaney maintains an interest in Bitcoin and blockchain technology going back nearly 10 years and believes that blockchain and cryptocurrency can overcome many of the limitations of the current financial system.