Within the United States, members of Congress and other authorities are starting to be required to account for and declare their digital assets. This is a little bit of a paradox in that cryptocurrency was designed to challenge government control, yet in this scenario, we are seeing members of one of the world’s most powerful governments declare their crypto assets, on a frankly colossal scale. If a currency designed to beat the government is owned by the government, does it lose all bearing?
Whilst this question is up for debate, one thing is clear. Staff and members of Congress, The White House and many other United States authorities own cryptocurrency. We’ve even speculated on a theory that Mr Trump himself owns Bitcoin.
According to Sludge:
“In late June, the House Ethics Committee passed new rules requiring members of the House to disclose their ownership of cryptocurrency in annual reports, the same way they would disclose any other asset. The new rules also require lawmakers to report cryptocurrency transactions within 45 days, the same period given for other financial transactions.”
See more for yourself, here.
According to reports, Bob Goodlatte is the first member of Congress to openly declare and account for cryptocurrency ownership, meaning Goodlatte could be about to spur on some deeper revelations into the US Government’s stance on cryptocurrency. Goodlatte has declared ownership of between $17,000.00 and $80,000.00 worth of cryptocurrency, allegedly spread across Bitcoin, Ethereum and Bitcoin Cash. Interestingly, this disclosure from Goodlatte actually comes from a report filed in May, prior to the new legislation set out by the House Ethics Committee.
Image shows a section of Goodlatte’s report, showing his investments in BTC, ETH and BCH
Image sourced from: readsludge.com
As a result of this new ruling and the new revelation of Goodlatte’s assets, we expect more members of Congress to release details of their cryptocurrency investments in the coming weeks and months. If they don’t, they are breaking the rules.
We need to consider the implications of this. If the US Government are seen to be holding huge amounts of Bitcoin (for example) could it be argued that they have the capacity to manipulate the price? Moreover, is personal government ownership, a challenge to decentralisation, because I would say it is.
Moreover, why are the authorities asking Congress staff to declare their investments? Are they planning to use this information to make crypto more accessible in the United States, or to do the opposite?
Whilst Goodlatte may have intended to do good with this, in turn, has he actually opened a big old can of worms?