Prices of major cryptocurrencies rose on Wednesday in Asia as the U.S. Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs held a hearing entitled “Examining Regulatory Frameworks for Digital Currencies and Blockchain” overnight.
During the hearing, comments by Nevada’s senior senator, Catherine Cortez Masto received some attention as she said that blockchain technology has potential and isn’t going away.
“I do think that blockchain technology … there’s potential for it. It’s a platform that has the ability to transform so many sectors of this country from, what we are talking about right now – the financial sector, to the energy sector, to healthcare records, to everything. I think there’s potential here and it’s not going to go away. It is something we will have to address because if we, as a country, do not lead in this technology, China or some other country is going to do so,” she said.
Senator Sherrod Brown, Ranking Member on the Committee, was more sceptical.
He used previous innovation such as the sub-prime mortgages as an example that if not managed properly, new technology and innovation could potentially slam the economy into recession:
“Just like Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) – which claims its new currency will help the unbanked and underbanked – these mortgages were supposed to help people who never had access to credit achieve the American dream of homeownership,” Senator Brown stated. “In reality, those mortgages ripped off millions of families who ended up losing their homes, they wrecked the economy, and they made the staggering inequality in this country even worse.”
The hearing takes place after the House Financial Services Committee grilled Facebook earlier this month over plans to launch Libra, its own digital coin.
The company’s crypto chief David Marcus said at the time that Facebook would wait to have all regulatory approvals and address any concerns before proceeding with the launch.
In other news, Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse told Bloomberg in an interview that a “new fiat currency” isn’t needed and that the dollar is perfectly suitable.
“Financial regulation matters. Know your customer and anti-money laundering, and anti-terrorist financing… these are important foundational pieces of our financial system, and we need to make sure that the future constructs keep that in mind,” said Garlinghouse.