U.S. Senator Pat Toomey says illegal actions by crypto exchange FTX must be separated “from perfectly lawful and innovative cryptocurrencies.” Emphasizing that “The collapse of FTX is not an indictment of crypto,” he noted that “cryptocurrency cannot be stopped” and “the technology would simply migrate offshore” if Congress tried.
Separating Illegal Actions From ‘Perfectly Lawful and Innovative Cryptocurrencies’
U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) explained in his opening statement at the Senate Banking Committee hearing Wednesday that the collapse of crypto exchange FTX is not an indictment against cryptocurrency.
“There was unauthorized lending of customer assets to an affiliated entity, and there were fraudulent promises to investors and customers about FTX’s operations. These are outrageous and completely unacceptable,” the senator described, emphasizing:
I want to underscore a bigger issue here: The wrongful behavior that occurred here is not specific to the underlying asset. What appears to have happened here is a complete breakdown in the handling of those assets.
“In our discussion of FTX today, I hope we are able to separate potentially illegal actions from perfectly lawful and innovative cryptocurrencies,” he told the Senate committee.
Noting that cryptocurrencies “are actually software,” Senator Toomey explained: “What we should all understand here is one simple thing: The code committed no crime. FTX and cryptocurrencies are not the same thing. FTX was opaque, centralized, and dishonest. Cryptocurrencies are open-source, decentralized, and transparent.”
Should the FTX Fallout Justify Banning or ‘Pausing’ Crypto?
The senator from Pennsylvania proceeded to address suggestions that crypto should be banned following the FTX meltdown.
“To those who think that this episode justifies banning crypto, I’d ask you to think about several examples,” he began. “The 2008 financial crisis involved the misuse of products related to mortgages. Did we decide to ban mortgages? Of course not. A commodity brokerage firm run by former New Jersey Senator John Corzine collapsed after customer funds — including U.S. dollars — were misappropriated to fill a shortfall from the firm’s trading losses. Nobody suggested that the problem was the U.S. dollar and that we should ban it.” Senator Toomey stressed: “With FTX, the problem is not the instruments that were used. The problem was the misuse of customer funds, gross mismanagement, and likely illegal behavior.”
The lawmaker continued:
Some of my colleagues have suggested pausing cryptocurrencies before we can address it. This is profoundly misguided, not to mention impossible. Short of enacting draconian, authoritarian policies, cryptocurrency cannot be stopped. If we tried, the technology would simply migrate offshore.
“Are we going to decide to pause our Constitution to stop crypto? This is exactly the kind of mindset that has driven this activity to the dark and less regulated parts of the world,” he further opined.
Should Congress Refrain From Regulating Crypto?
Moreover, the lawmaker said: “Others have suggested we refrain from addressing cryptocurrency at all, so as to not legitimize its use. This is not only misguided, it’s irresponsible.”
The senator detailed: “Individuals can also be tremendously empowered when they use cryptocurrencies. They can protect against inflation when governments irresponsibly manage their own currencies. They can provide useful services without the need for a company or middleman. And they can let individuals preserve the freedom to transact privately.”
Toomey also tweeted Wednesday:
The collapse of FTX is not an indictment of crypto. It’s an indictment of those who misused customer assets.
“As I’ve said for months, Congress needs to give regulatory clarity so business flows to prudent, sensible, well-regulated American crypto exchanges,” he added.
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