The US Congressional Finance Committee met nearly six hours yesterday, Wednesday, July 17th. On the agenda were Bitcoin, Libra & Co. One thing is certain: Bitcoin has arrived on the political agenda.
One rubs these days almost disbelievingly the eyes: FED Chairman Powell calls Bitcoin a "value memory just like gold", US President Trump speaks in the same breath of Bitcoin and money and now also proves the US Congress its openness to the Cryptocurrency No. 1.
Instead of fearing battles against Bitcoin, some MPs recognize the innovative potential of digital gold. But one thing baffles the most: We are talking about Congressman Patrick McHenry. First, the North Carolina MP during the Congressional hearing delivered an astonishingly positive plea for innovative cryptocurrencies:
Just because we do not fully understand the full potential of new technologies should not make us scream for bans [...]. The world sketched by Satoshi Nakamoto in the Bitcoin White Paper [...] is an unstoppable force. Governments can not stop this innovation.
This is a somewhat astonishing announcement: a US MP who is agnostic in the utopia outlined by Satoshi in the White Paper - who would have thought that possible a few months ago? Furthermore, there is a growing awareness that Bitcoin's decentralized structure makes a ban difficult to impossible.
McHenry reaffirmed this view when, following CNBC, he said:
I think there is no way to kill Bitcoin. Even the Chinese with their firewall and their extreme interference in their society can not kill Bitcoin. So, decentralized ledgers that are openly accessible make sure that we can not kill Bitcoin [...]. New versions [such as Facebook's Libra], on the other hand, are not completely decentralized because there are several mechanisms to disable them.
The fact that now the knowledge of the difference between decentralized currencies and centralized projects like Libra finds its way into politics, could hardly reveal more plastic than in the comments of McHenry.
Bitcoin vs. Shitcoin
Another commentary should have contributed to the general amusement of the Bitcoin community. Meltem Demirors, MIT and Oxford lecturer and proven crypto-expert, was also invited to the debate. Warren Davidson (Republicans) used the favor of the day to explain the difference between Bitcoin and Shitcoins.
I think the idea here is that Bitcoin has a long history. The network has been in operation for 10 years and has been tested. People have tried to take control of the Bitcoin source code and steer it in certain directions [...] and this protocol has passed the test.
It is robust and has the advantage of having spent its first five years in its development phase operating in this environment of innovation and not paying much attention to regulation.
All of these features are unlike many of the coins that the community colloquially calls shitcoins.
One thing clearly shows the debate: Bitcoin is on the agenda. After only ten years of existence, the possibility that a digital, decentralized currency has come to stay is no longer utopian. The fact that Bitcoin, Libra & Co. are on the agenda clearly shows that. That's a sensation.