A “discussion draft” bill set out to spell doomsday on the dreams of many financial technology projects is making rounds on Crypto Twitter.
Unconfirmed yet unsettling, the “Keep Big Tech Out of Finance” bill proposes to “prohibit large platform utilities” from becoming a financial institution or getting affiliated with a person that runs a financial institution.” In the case of non-compliance, the violator in question would need to pay a fine not more than $1 million for each day of violation.
“A large platform utility may not establish, maintain, or operate a digital asset that is intended to be widely used as a medium of exchange, unit of account, store of value, or any other similar function, as defined by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System,” read the bill.
Facebook Libra Hearing on Tuesday
The draft surfaced ahead of a congressional meeting on the Facebook cryptocurrency Libra, scheduled on July 16. The U.S. House Financial Services Committee so far has reserved a strict view on the social media giant’s foray into the financial sector, with many members ordering it to halt developing it until further notice.
Officials of the US leading government and regulatory agencies feel the same. Last week, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said in his congressional address that Libra posed severe concerns regarding money laundering and economy destabilization. Hours later, US President Donald Trump tweeted against the cryptocurrency project, iterating that Facebook would need to go through a rigorous regulatory procedure as banks do.
….Similarly, Facebook Libra’s “virtual currency” will have little standing or dependability. If Facebook and other companies want to become a bank, they must seek a new Banking Charter and become subject to all Banking Regulations, just like other Banks, both National…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 12, 2019
The new bill, nevertheless, clarifies that the government does not even want technology firms to compete with their commercial counterparts. Anthony Pompliano, co-founder & partner at Morgan Creek Digital, called out the unfair competitive advantage with a sarcastic “Wow,” adding:
“Unlikely to succeed, but this is the most bullish thing for Bitcoin I’ve heard in weeks.”
Bitcoin Trends Cautiously
The weekend price action in the bitcoin market is showing a cautious take at the investors’ end. The world’s leading cryptocurrency, which rose to its year-to-date high of $13,868.44 after Libra’s technical paper launch, now stands almost 18 percent lower. But as Pompliano stated, it is in for a ride to the upside.
Bitcoin reportedly jumped almost twofold on rumors that Facebook Libra would boost its name and fame among the ordinary people. Investors jumped into it to speculate and, as typical in any market, exited it atop local highs to make an attractive interim profit. But as many believe, many of those investors would stay back in the bitcoin market, given a string of gloomy economic issues that lie ahead.
Facebook Libra’s dismissal by the US Congress, for instance, could project bitcoin as the only real cryptocurrency alternative that does not bend before political bullying. Subsequently, Trump’s open declaration about manipulating the US dollar rates in the future makes an entire use case for bitcoin, as noted by Jameson Lopp of CASA. The chief technology officer said on Wednesday:
“There’s one perspective that Bitcoin need not do anything else to become a global reserve currency: all it needs to do is nothing as it watches other systems inevitably fail under the follies of fickle fallible humans.”
Trump’s anti-bitcoin tweet on Thursday has furthered bitcoin’s popularity. People are finally speaking about it at dinner tables (its a personal experience). That makes a super bullish case for an asset that has been compared to Ponzi schemes, financial scams, and even rat poisons.
The Libra doomsday bill could set an example of how much control governments enjoy over an individual’s financial freedom.