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Goodlatte First Member of US Congress to Disclose Crypto Holdings

US Congressman Bob Goodlatte has declared his private Cryptocurrency holdings, becoming the first member of Congress to do so.

Goodlatte, who currently serves as the chair of the House Committee on the Judiciary, has reported that he currently holds a number of cryptocurrencies, namely Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Ethereum (ETH).

Clearly, holding cryptocurrencies in itself is not at all unusual but perhaps a rarer disclosure when made by influential politicians, given the current state of regulation in the US surrounding cryptocurrencies.

The disclosure was filed in on 10 May that congressman Goodlatte owns between USD 15,001 and USD 50,000 worth of BTC, while also holding positions in BCH and ETH valued at between USD 1,001 and USD 15,000 each.

The reason for the disclosure is a result of a Congressional Blockchain Caucus legal advisory that request that all employees of the United States executive branch reveal any crypto holdings within 45 days. The advisory was not simply limited to crypto but all holdings.

Crypto clearly runs through the congressman’s family as his son Bobby Goodlatte Jr has Coinbase investments. Also, Congressman Goodlatte is a member of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus itself. The founder of the group is Jared Polis who requested guidance early this year on crypto disclosure. Analysts are expecting him to be the next politician to disclose crypto assets.

Polis argued in February that, because crypto assets are regarded as commodities by some agencies, Congress should treat them as traditional assets for disclosure purposes. He argued:

“Members of Congress and covered employees are already required to report certain asset holdings over certain amounts, including reporting any commodities holding over USD 1,000, a Member or covered employee should report any virtual currency holding as they would report any other commodity, such as gold.”

Polis is notably pro-crypto, once suggesting that the US dollar be banned and replaced with Bitcoin, and is also one of the first US politicians to accept Bitcoin campaign donations.

 

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New US Trafficking Act Will Investigate Illicit Crypto Use

The Fight Illicit Network and Detect (FIND) Trafficking Act is being introduced by congressman Juan Vargas of California to the United States House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services. If the bill is passed, it would require the Comptroller General of the United States to investigate the illicit use of cryptocurrencies for drug trafficking and sex trafficking in online marketplaces.

No later than one year after the bill is enacted, the Comptroller General would have to submit a report to the Committees on Banking, Housing, Urban Affairs, and Financial Services. This report must include recommendations for legislative and regulatory action that would improve federal government efforts to hinder the use of cryptocurrencies for drug dealing and sex trafficking, as well as how to successfully enforce justice against dark web markets.

This is part of a continuing effort during the presidency of Donald Trump to put an end to sex trafficking. FOSTA-SESTA was passed by the US House of Representatives and made it illegal to post ads for prostitutes online, shutting down popular sections of the websites Backpage and Craigslist.

In general, the US government has been increasing regulation of cryptocurrency but for the most part, has been legalizing and legitimizing its use to the point that big Wall Street firms are beginning to invest in and explore cryptocurrency.

Drug dealing played an essential role in Bitcoin’s initial popularity and evolution, especially on the Silk Road where users could buy drugs and weapons. Silk Road only accepted Bitcoin since Bitcoin was relatively anonymous and could be sent anywhere in the world instantly, and collected BTC 9.5 million of revenue from sales, then worth USD 1.2 billion, before getting shut down by law enforcement.

Now Bitcoin is mostly being used for legal goods, services, and investments as it has expanded into a global currency with a market cap of hundreds of billions of USD. Bitcoin’s image and reputation would stand to improve further if the US government shut down illicit drug dealing and sex trafficking associated with cryptocurrency.

There is probably no way to completely stop drug dealing and sex trafficking with Bitcoin and cryptocurrency though, just like there’s no way to completely stop cash from being used for the same purposes.

 

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