Could a New Bill Effectively Ban All Crypto Transactions in the US?

Advocates say it could help stop ransomware attacks.
Loukia Papadopoulos

In 2021, scammers stole a whopping $14 billion in cryptocurrency while the authorities remained powerless to do anything.

This could be the reason why the U.S. Treasury Department is considering a bill that would allow it to unilaterally block cryptocurrency transactions without public notice, according to ViceThe news was made public by Coin Center, a D.C.-based cryptocurrency think tank.

A stronger America 

The bill is called the America COMPETES Act and the White House claims it would make the nation's supply chains stronger, empowering the country to outcompete China and the rest of the world.

“Right now, China and other bad actors are threatening our national security and global financial stability,” said in a statement Chairwoman of the Financial Services Committee, Maxine Waters.

“This is why the America COMPETES Act is commonsense, long overdue legislation that will finally hold countries like China accountable for the ways that they engage in illicit or aggressive activity to harm our nation’s financial system."

Waters added that the bill, if passed, would allow the U.S. and its allies to push back against foreign attacks, becoming a stronger more resilient nation and ensuring its citizens' security. 

Coin Center, however, strongly disagrees. 

Draconian measures 

“The proposed language in the America COMPETES Act would, and we cannot stress this enough, remove all formal controls, time limits, and public notice requirements from the imposition of these draconian measures,” Coin Center writes in its report.

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“It eliminates the notice and comment process (both in advance of prohibitions and after surveillance impositions) and it allows the Secretary to impose these measures “by order, regulation, or otherwise as permitted by law” permanently and secretly with no obligation to engage in a public process.”

The provision is not entirely new. A similar Act was already proposed before and effectively killed by lobbying efforts initiated and led by groups like Coin Center. In fact, it was the same representative (Jim Himes) who is proposing the current Act that back then proposed its previous version

What does this mean? Trying to ban cryptocurrencies is a notoriously difficult feat to achieve. China is proof of that and the U.S. may very well want to take note and instead consider a different approach. In the meantime, time will tell how the America COMPETES Act will fare.

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