Is Washington ready to tackle ‘Bitcom’ and ‘Ponzi screams’?

On Wednesday, a group of 40 crypto entrepreneurs headed to Washington DC to convince lawmakers it was time to provide regulatory clarity for the industry — but despite the campaign’s efforts, the US government has other fish to fry… and some members still appear woefully ignorant about cryptocurrency.

Coinbase’s ‘Stand with Crypto’ campaign convened in Washington in hopes that the US passes a new set of rules for digital assets. These have already been approved by the House Financial Services Committee and the House Committee on Agriculture, but must now be pushed through Congress.

Coinbase chief exec Brian Armstrong posted on X (formerly Twitter) on Wednesday, “It’s time for America to join the rest of the G20 and get some clear rules on the books.” He and other execs will meet with Democrats and Republicans in Congress to get legislation moving.

Free coffee!

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Armstrong’s campaign included handing out free cans of cold brew coffee. “WAKE UP,” the Coinbase-blue branded cans read. “52 million Americans own crypto.”

Wake up and smell the Bitcom and Ponzi screams

US lawmakers do indeed need to wake up. Despite crypto concerns finding a place on the agenda for several years, some lawmakers appear to be shockingly uninformed over an industry that poses intrinsic risks to the financial stability of the country.

Former chair of the House Financial Services Committee, Rep. Maxine Waters, went down in crypto history when she called bitcoin “Bitcom” and Ponzi schemes “Ponzi screams” during a speech. Videos have since made the rounds on X.

Is this real life?

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Ignorance aside, Coinbase and its crypto campaign face other issues. As reported by Reuters, the 40 crypto entrepreneurs who convened in Washington face an “uphill battle.” Lawmakers are currently trying to avoid a government shutdown, have several other important bills that must be passed this year, and are dealing with a major labor strike by autoworkers.

“It’s not clear to me whether the industry’s efforts to bootstrap a crypto grassroots campaign out of nowhere is going to translate into something that’s politically impactful,” said Mark Hays, senior policy analyst at Americans for Financial Reform and Demand Progress, to Reuters.

How much can lawmakers really trust Coinbase anyways?

Some lawmakers are equally concerned about conceding too much ground to crypto entrepreneurs, who historically haven’t shown much moral backbone.

“The last thing we need is for the crypto industry to write their own rulebook,” Senate Banking Committee chair Sherrod Brown told Reuters.

Indeed, Coinbase and Binance are currently fighting a lawsuit against the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for operating illegally.

Coinbase and other execs must continue to fight to have their voices heard among the crowd of issues the US government currently faces. Meanwhile, lawmakers must clearly do more to understand the basic facts.

But in the meantime, free coffee!

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