Waters announced the committee’s priorities for fall 2019 on Aug. 23. According to the statement, the committee plans to receive the testimony and opinions from governmental officials and regulators.
Representative Maxine Waters, chair of the United States House of Representatives’ Financial Services Committee, says the committee will continue to review Facebook’s proposed cryptocurrency Libra and the corresponding digital wallet Calibra.
A priority for autumn 2019
Specifically, Waters lists Treasury Secretary Mnuchin, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Kraninger, Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Calabria and Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Quarles.
Waters remains cautious on Libra
As previously reported by Cointelegraph, Waters requested that Facebook halt work on Libra in the middle of June. Waters wrote:
“Given the company’s troubled past, I am requesting that Facebook agree to a moratorium on any movement forward on developing a cryptocurrency until Congress and regulators have the opportunity to examine these issues and take action”
Waters expressed her concerns regarding Facebook’s past during Libra’s congressional hearings in July. She said that Facebook has a “demonstrated pattern of failing to keep consumer data private on a scale similar to Equifax” and that the social media behemoth had “allowed malicious Russian state actors to purchase and target ads” to – purportedly – influence the 2016 U.S. presidential elections.
Waters blasts Libra, Mnuchin blasts Bitcoin
One of the federal officials that Waters mentioned in her fall 2019 plan, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin, has vocalized strong anti-Bitcoin and anti-crypto sentiments recently. In July, Mnuchin argued that Bitcoin is used for money laundering more than cash. Mnuchin has also claimed that “cryptocurrencies have been dominated by illicit activities and speculation.” He further stated that crypto has financed a variety of crime with billions of dollars, saying:
“Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin have been exploited to support billions of dollars of illicit activity, like cybercrime, tax evasion, extortion, randomware, illicit drugs, human trafficking … This is indeed a national security issue.”
How Blockchain Will Track Taxes (and Tax Cheats)
Tomicah Tillemann is the chairman of the Global Blockchain Business Council and, at Davos this year, he was interested in taxes. He spoke to Michael Casey at his council’s event at the World Economic Forum.
“We were really fortunate yesterday to announce a new collaboration with Ernst & Young and MIT. Together with New America, my organization, we’re going to be working together to tackle the very tough challenge of tax around the world”, he said. “Tax, obviously, is on its face about the most boring topic imaginable, but it turns out that it powers many of the most fundamental elements of our lives.”
Tillemann and his team are looking to make tax systems more efficient, transparent and accountable.
“So we’re working on three big challenges. First, how do we make it simpler and more fair to get taxes from citizens and companies into government? That’s a big struggle in many countries. So how do we simplify that process and create a fair playing field where everybody is paying what they should and not more than they should?” he said. “The second piece of this is how do we ensure that once those resources are inside the government, they’re used effectively? And then the last piece of this is how we engage in the storytelling work around this effort to make it all understandable and coherent for citizens and corporate partners. It’s a lot of work.”
Tillemann sees taxes as a cornerstone of civilization.
“The U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said that taxes are the price we pay for living in a civilized society, and in a moment when civilization is looking a little bit shaky”, he said.