Buying, Mining Cryptos Should Be Off-Limits to US Citizens, Congressman Sherman Says

US lawmaker Brad Sherman had really harsh words to say about cryptocurrencies during a recent Congressional hearing on digital money.

Most governments are in agreement that cryptocurrencies cannot be banned in the traditional sense of the word, but one US congressman thinks his government should give it a shot anyway.

During a Congressional hearing titled “The Future of Money: Digital Currency,” Democrat Brad Sherman suggested the United States should engage in a Prohibition-style ban on purchasing and mining cryptocurrencies.

“Blockchain is a good technology, but it can be used to track and transfer sovereign currency. There is nothing that can be done with cryptocurrency that cannot be done with sovereign currency that is meritorious and helpful to society. The role of the US dollar in the international financial system is a critical component of US power. It brought Iran to the negotiating table and then we argue about whether we got a good enough deal or not in the JCPOA. We would have had nothing had it not been for the role of the dollar. We should prohibit US persons from buying or mining cryptocurrencies,” the House of Representatives member said.

His justification for a ban on mining includes the argument that “mining alone uses electricity, which takes away from other needs and/or adds to the carbon footprint.”

Sherman believes that cryptocurrencies “[accomplish] nothing, except facilitating narcotics trafficking, terrorism, and tax evasion.”

This point of view does not appear to be a fringe phenomenon. Members of the US government generally seem to agree that cryptocurrencies only need a modicum of oversight and allowing their free circulation in the economy is not necessarily harmful. On the other hand, many share Sherman’s attitude to digital coins. Fed chairman Jerome Powell, for example, also believes that cryptocurrencies could pose a threat to commercial bank liquidity.

At the other extreme are people like US Senate candidate Austin Petersen, who is currently running a campaign focused on libertarian principles and recently made it clear he was even willing to accept campaign donations in cryptocurrencies.

“Bitcoin’s disruptive influence is just what our financial system needs at this time. For too long, the federal government has had exclusive control over currency, stymying competition and growth by falsely limiting consumer choice—a fact we would all be aware of were the Federal Reserve subject to the same kind of audits privately-held companies are. Cryptocurrency represents the future of American creativity and American liberty, and I’m delighted to accept campaign donations in this form,” he said.