Sens. Cynthia Lummis and Kirsten Gillibrand are backing bipartisan legislation that establishes regulatory clarity for cryptocurrencies. This is the right way to approach a foundational technology.
“Crypto doesn’t neatly fall along party lines because, as a foundational technology, it is — or should be — inherently nonpartisan,” says Diogo Mónica, co-founder and president of Anchorage Digital.
Diogo Mónica is president and co-founder of Anchorage Digital.
When I moved from Portugal to the United States to work at Square, it was hard to wrap my head around the two-party system that dominates American politics. As I saw at home, democracies, by their very nature, can be messy. But as an outsider looking in, I can’t help but worry that the ever-widening gap between America’s two major parties looms over crypto’s future.
Most recently, I’ve watched politicization begin to creep into crypto — despite the fact that my crypto-holding friends and industry colleagues span the political spectrum. The Republican Party has become increasingly outspoken in its support of deregulating crypto, whereas its Democratic colleagues have pushed for closing what they see as regulatory “gaps.”
This divide isn’t inevitable. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Cynthia Lummis are on the brink of announcing a long-awaited regulatory framework for crypto. Should they succeed, this will be the first real, bipartisan step toward achieving both consumer protections and market clarity — the type of compromise that Americans of all political stripes can get behind.
This kind of cooperation is more representative of the crypto ethos itself. Crypto doesn’t neatly fall along party lines because, as a foundational technology, it is — or should be — inherently nonpartisan.
Politicians have had heated debates over net neutrality, antitrust regulation and privacy laws. They debate how to govern the internet, but they don’t debate its existence, which is seen as a universal social good. If the internet had been regulated out of existence before its benefits were well understood, the world would be a very different place.
Crypto isn’t red or blue. The blockchain technology on which crypto is built represents benefits that both parties find attractive: financial inclusion for underbanked communities to the left, and financial autonomy, efficiency and innovation to the right. For both, it represents jobs and a new digitized era of American leadership on the global stage.
But we’re standing at a pivotal moment in U.S. policymaking today, because if America’s two-party system impedes crypto’s incubation at home, other nations will quickly fill the vacuum. That’s the risk of politicizing early technologies, rather than exploring their potential.
We can’t allow the stalemate of a two-party system to grind blockchain innovation to a halt. Gridlock serves no one, and Americans stand to lose out if real progress isn’t made to regulate crypto without compromising its ethos of experimentation.
The government has a role to play in the crypto ecosystem, and our industry needs to recognize that. Crypto companies need to actively partner with regulators and lawmakers to work the digital asset ecosystem’s new tools into the framework of existing rules.
Both parties stand to benefit from striking the right balance. As does crypto.
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