Cryptocurrency Executives To Be Questioned In U.S. Congress

Executives of eight major cryptocurrency firms have been called to testify before a U.S. congressional committee on December 8.

Witnesses called to appear include Coinbase's Alesia Haas, Circle's Jeremy Allaire and Bitfury's Brian Brooks. It will be the first time companies representing the cryptocurrency sector have been questioned by American politicians.

Elected representatives across the political spectrum in the U.S. have called for more scrutiny of cryptocurrencies.

Elizabeth Warren on the left of the Democratic Party has called for tougher regulation of the sector and former President Donald Trump has described cryptocurrencies as “a scam.”

Mr Brooks of Bitfury previously served as a top banking regulator under the Trump administration and had a role in policymaking around cryptocurrencies.

The anonymity of paying using cryptocurrencies means they have been favoured for criminal activities such as drug dealing and ransomware attacks. However, their supporters say the view that they are predominantly for circumventing the law is outdated and that innovation in this area offers huge future potential for digital payments.

Countries around the world have taken radically different approaches to cryptocurrencies. China has declared cryptocurrency transactions illegal, a move India looks set to follow. Many other central banks are eyeing the sector warily and discussing regulation.

However, El Salvador recently declared Bitcoin, the biggest cryptocurrency, to be legal tender and its president plans to build a Bitcoin city at the base of a volcano, with the cryptocurrency used to fund the project.

Across the U.S., states and municipalities have developed plans to integrate digital coins and tokens into their operations. The mayors of Miami and New York have ambitions to make their cities centres for cryptocurrency businesses.

The upcoming hearing before the U.S. House Financial Services Committee will focus on “the challenges and benefits of financial innovation,” according to the committee announcement.

The other chief executives who have been asked to appear are Sam Bankman-Fried of FTX Trading, Chad Cascarilla of Paxos and Dennelle Dixon of the Stellar Development Foundation.