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US Unveils Bill Giving Treasury Secretary ‘Unchecked and Unilateral Power’ to Ban Crypto Transactions, Advocate Warns


US Unveils Bill Giving Treasury Secretary 'Unchecked and Unilateral Power' to Ban Crypto Transactions, Advocate Warns

A new bill introduced in the U.S. has a provision that “would essentially give the Treasury Secretary unchecked and unilateral power” to ban cryptocurrency transactions, warned crypto advocacy organization Coin Center. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will be able to prohibit any crypto transactions “without any process, rulemaking, or limitation on the duration of the prohibition.”

America COMPETES Act of 2022 ‘Disastrous’ for Crypto

Jerry Brito, executive director of Coin Center, a D.C.-based think tank focused on the public policy issues facing cryptocurrencies, warned about the “America COMPETES Act of 2022” in a series of tweets Wednesday. The bill was introduced in the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

Noting that the America COMPETES Act of 2022 “will very likely pass in some form,” Brito explained that it contains the “special measures” provision proposed by Connecticut Congressman Jim Himes “that would be disastrous not just for cryptocurrency but for privacy and due process generally.” He continued:

The so-called ‘special measures’ provision … would essentially give the Treasury Secretary unchecked and unilateral power to ban exchanges and other financial institutions from engaging in cryptocurrency transactions.

Currently, “the law requires that Treasury engage in a public rulemaking before instituting a prohibition,” Brito said, adding that “the secretary can impose a surveillance special measure through a simple order, but its duration is limited to 120 days and must be accompanied by a public rulemaking.”

The Coin Center executive outlined that the new provision would do three things.

Firstly, it would “Add ‘certain transmittal of funds’ to the list of things that can be banned by the Secretary.” Secondly, it would “Eliminate all public notice and comment requirements.” Moreover, it would “Eliminate the 120-day limitation for measures imposed without regulation.”

He warned that “If adopted into law, this provision would be disaster not just for crypto but for privacy and democratic public process related to *all* types of financial transactions,” elaborating:

It empowers the Secretary to prohibit any (or indeed all) cryptocurrency transactions (or any other kind of transaction) without any process, rulemaking, or limitation on the duration of the prohibition.

What do you think about the America COMPETES Act of 2022? Let us know in the comments section below.

Kevin Helms

A student of Austrian Economics, Kevin found Bitcoin in 2011 and has been an evangelist ever since. His interests lie in Bitcoin security, open-source systems, network effects and the intersection between economics and cryptography.

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