Tom Emmer, majority whip of the United States House of Representatives and a vocal supporter of cryptocurrencies, recently highlighted the growing importance of digital assets in U.S. politics. He referred to them as a “sleeper issue” that is gaining attention both at the state and federal levels.
Speaking at the Permissionless II conference in Austin, Texas on September 11th, Emmer noted that certain candidates running for office in 2024 may underestimate the impact of crypto and blockchain issues. He specifically mentioned concerns about financial privacy and government oversight of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs).
Emmer emphasized that the issue of digital assets transcends political affiliations. He explained that people from both the Democratic and Republican parties, as well as others, believe in the importance of personal information privacy and the ability to choose when to share it.
According to Emmer, there is a generational divide in the United States when it comes to embracing digital advancements. He believes that residents who value the digital space will push back against policies that potentially hinder its progress. In doing so, they will expose lawmakers who lack technological understanding.
Several candidates from both major political parties have already taken public positions on CBDCs for the 2024 race. Ron DeSantis, the Republican Governor of Florida and a top contender, pledged in July to ban CBDCs in the U.S. if elected. He also signed a bill into law earlier this year aimed at limiting the use of a federally issued digital dollar in Florida. Other longshot candidates who have expressed opposition to CBDCs include Republican Vivek Ramaswamy and Democrat Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
Emmer believes that while laws and regulations on disclosing information exist, the approach should not be a blanket statement when it comes to CBDCs. He advocates for a central bank digital currency that is open, permissionless, and private, aiming to emulate the properties of cash.
To support his stance, Emmer has reintroduced a bill aimed at limiting the Federal Reserve from issuing a CBDC in the United States. Additionally, he has backed an appropriations amendment for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that could restrict the commission’s ability to enforce regulations on crypto firms.
In a significant development, the House Financial Services Committee will hold a meeting on September 20th to discuss the Digital Dollar Pilot Prevention Act. This legislation aims to block the Federal Reserve from initiating CBDC pilot programs without approval from Congress. The committee recently held a hearing on CBDCs on September 14th, marking the first discussion on the topic since Congress’ August recess.
Emmer’s efforts reflect the increasing acknowledgment of the importance of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology in U.S. politics. As awareness grows and prominent figures advocate for digital assets, it is expected that the discussion will continue to expand and influence policy decisions.
The intersection of technology and politics is an important focus for Emmer and others who recognize the transformative potential of cryptocurrencies. As the 2024 election approaches, the impact of digital assets and blockchain technology on various aspects of governance and society is likely to become a prominent topic, shaping the future of regulations and policies in the United States.