Members of Congress Should Disclose Cryptocurrency Holdings: Blockchain Caucus Founder

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The founder of the US Congressional Blockchain Caucus wants his fellow members of Congress to be required to disclose their cryptocurrency holdings.

Colorado House Representative Jared Polis (D), who has long been one of Bitcoin’s most vocal advocates on Capitol Hill, sent a petition to the House Ethics Committee earlier this week arguing that cryptocurrency holdings should be subject to the same financial disclosure requirements as other assets.

“Members of Congress and covered employees are already required to report certain asset holdings over certain amounts, including reporting any commodities holding over $1,000, a Member or covered employee should report any virtual currency holding as they would report any other commodity, such as gold,” Polis wrote in the letter, which was dated Feb. 5.

He noted that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) have all provided investors with regulatory guidance surrounding cryptoassets and have ruled that they are subject to regulations governing commodities, securities, and property, depending on the specific substance of the asset involved.

If adopted, these disclosure requirements would prevent lawmakers from secretly trading on non-public information, such as whether the federal government was preparing to enact cryptocurrency regulations.

This has proved to be a problem in other countries. Last month, several financial regulators in South Korea were found to have invested in cryptocurrency and then sold their entire stakes prior to the government’s announcement that it would adopt a stricter set of regulations governing cryptocurrency exchanges.

In Ukraine, meanwhile, a similar financial disclosure policy revealed that three lawmakers held a combined $47 million worth of bitcoins.

Previously, Polis co-sponsored several bills to promote the development of blockchain technology and normalize the use of cryptocurrency as a financial instrument.

Last year, Polis and Arizona House Representative David Schweikert (R) introduced the Cryptocurrency Tax Fairness Act, a bill that would eliminate reporting requirements for cryptocurrency transactions worth less than $600, making it far less burdensome for US residents to use cryptocurrencies to pay for small value items.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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Josiah is a former ancient and medieval literature teacher. He has been writing about cryptocurrency since 2014, and his work has been cited in Business Insider, NPR, and Yahoo! Finance. He lives in rural North Carolina with his wife and son. Email him directly at josiah.wilmoth(at)ccn.com.