by Ailan Evans
Republican lawmakers say China’s recent crackdown on financial technologies could offer an opportunity for the U.S. to press its advantage in innovation.
China’s central bank issued a statement Friday morning declaring all cryptocurrency transactions and services illegal, banning coin mining operations and vowing to crack down on its citizens’ use of foreign crypto exchanges.
Several Republicans say China’s loss could be the United States’ gain.
“As these innovators in China look elsewhere for opportunities, we need to make sure our regulators welcome crypto opportunities, not shun them, so we can bring all of those tech jobs leaving China to the United States,” Rep. Tom Emmer told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Emmer, who serves on the House Financial Services Committee and co-chairs the Blockchain Caucus, has pushed for laws designed to protect innovation in financial technologies like cryptocurrency, arguing digital assets will be an enormous benefit to the American economy.
“Decentralized technology like blockchain and crypto is open source — so anyone, anywhere can access it, learn the underlying code, and build projects on it,” Emmer said. “Anyone has the opportunity to innovate, to form capital, to expand access to opportunities for others.
Republican Sen. Cynthia Lummis agreed with Emmer on the opportunity China’s crackdown afforded the U.S., arguing regulators should work to protect financial technology innovation.
“China is missing a huge opportunity here, and we’d be remiss if we made the same mistake,” Lummis told the DCNF. “I’ll keep working with my fellow Senators to ensure we aren’t regulating digital assets out of existence.”
Lummis, along with Republican Sen. Pat Toomey and Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden, led an effort to amend the bipartisan infrastructure bill that passed the Senate in August, attempting to fix a cryptocurrency reporting mandate that many in the industry viewed as unworkable and stifling.
Toomey and Republican Rep. Warren Davidson voiced similar thoughts on Twitter.
“China’s authoritarian crackdown on crypto, including #Bitcoin, is a big opportunity for the U.S. It’s also a reminder of our huge structural advantage over China,” Toomey tweeted.
“America has an incredible opportunity to protect personal digital wallets, embrace true distributed ledger technology, and strengthen our advantage over China’s authoritarian Communist Party,” Davidson wrote on Twitter.
While U.S. laws on cryptocurrency are much more permissive than China’s, the Biden administration has repeatedly signaled its intent to ramp up regulation of digital assets. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has raised concerns over the risks cryptocurrencies pose to the market at large, while Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler called the crypto market a “wild west” and vowed to craft a more restrictive regulatory framework.
“Beijing is so hostile to economic freedom they cannot even tolerate their people participating in what is arguably the most exciting innovation in finance in decades,” Toomey wrote. “Economic liberty leads to faster growth, and ultimately, a higher standard of living for all.”
China’s crypto ban is the latest in a series of crackdowns on its private finance and technology sectors. The country heavily restricted how Chinese technology companies conduct initial public offerings in stock markets outside China, and passed laws restructuring tech companies such as Ant Group that offer financial services.
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Ailan Evans is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.