EXCLUSIVE — Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) denounced lawsuits that the Biden Securities and Exchange Commission filed against the cryptocurrency industry and vowed to defend digital assets should he be elected president.
Under President Joe Biden, the SEC has gone after crypto companies through several lawsuits. DeSantis told the Washington Examiner this week that his administration would reverse course as he laid out his agenda for the cryptocurrency realm.
“Biden’s SEC thinks it’s judge, jury, and executioner on crypto while the Fed continues to press ahead on CBDC,” DeSantis said, referencing research into a central bank digital currency.
“Innovation is fleeing abroad thanks to their regulatory shakedowns,” he continued. “I will defend the right of Americans to hold digital assets without government interference. Crypto rules should be made by Congress, not regulatory fiefdoms that blindly police an industry they don’t understand.”
The SEC filed lawsuits against some of the biggest crypto companies in the world over the past few years. Among the companies that the SEC has targeted are Binance, Coinbase, and Kraken. Cryptocurrency advocates have panned the SEC as too heavy-handed or as regulating by lawsuit.
The collapse of FTX last year has led to increased scrutiny of the crypto space from federal regulators, although some say it has gone too far. Perianne Boring, founder of the Chamber of Digital Commerce, told the Associated Press earlier this year that the Binance and Coinbase lawsuits were “arbitrary and capricious” and that “the SEC’s vigorous enforcement in this space is politically motivated, opening up legal risk against SEC.”
DeSantis said he would appoint leaders of the country’s regulatory agencies that are focused on helping companies play by the rules rather than focusing on what he perceives as politically charged lawsuits.
Going further, the Florida governor vowed to block any moves to implement a CBDC. Last year, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and major banks announced the launch of a three-month test of a digital dollar to study its feasibility.
Additionally, in January of that year, the Fed took its first step toward weighing the use of a CBDC when it released a discussion paper and opened a four-month public comment period to receive input.
Notably, the House Financial Services Committee advanced a bill in September that would stop the Federal Reserve from issuing digital currency.
Furthermore, DeSantis’s crypto platform includes ensuring crypto companies and crypto entrepreneurs aren’t denied banking services.
He also intends to work with Congress to remove tax barriers to the use and implementation of alternative currencies and to support blockchain-based innovation. Blockchain is the technology that underpins digital assets such as bitcoin. Specifically, DeSantis thinks blockchain technology should be embraced for its ability to protect personal privacy and information.
Under DeSantis, Florida has become a hub for cryptocurrency companies. Many have relocated to the state in recent years and flocked to places such as Miami, which has worked to brand itself as a crypto Mecca. As part of his platform, DeSantis wants to bring that philosophy to the national level and stymie the flow of crypto talent, jobs, and money to other countries in Europe and Asia.
Taken together, DeSantis’s views illustrate a clearly pro-crypto policy agenda. Bitcoin, and cryptocurrency more generally, has grown to be increasingly embraced by not only political figures but also institutions in the traditional finance and banking realm.
Many crypto advocates hope that the SEC will soon approve the first spot bitcoin exchange-traded fund. A dozen applicants have applied with the SEC to provide a spot exchange-traded fund for the cryptocurrency.
Bitcoin is now punching in at nearly $38,000 and is hovering around the highest level it has been at since May of last year. Since the start of this year alone, the price of bitcoin has risen a whopping 128% after having a dismal 2022.
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