U.S. Senator Backs Libra Association Member Despite Departures From Project

Neil Dennis

Amid the chorus of U.S. government representatives condemning Facebook's Libra cryptocurrency project there has emerged from South Dakota a Senator actively backing digital currencies, warning the U.S. of the risks of falling behind in innovative ideas by stifling Libra and other crypto projects.

Senator Mike Rounds sent a letter on Thursday to Anchorage Trust Company, the digital asset custodian based in Rounds' South Dakota, praising its "entrepreneurial spirit" and encouraging the company to "persevere". He said:

Your willingness to take risks in an effort to improve the lives of Americans and our neighbors across the globe is one of the hallmarks of what makes our country great.

Schatz and Brown Letter

Rounds' letter comes in stark contrast to one sent two weeks ago by Senators Brian Schatz and Sherrod Brown to payments companies Visa, Mastercard and Stripe, encouraging the trio to end their association with the project. Last week the three companies, along with eBay, announced their departure from the Libra Association. Seven of the founding Association members have now left.

Indeed, Rounds criticized Schatz and Brown for their "ominous tone" which, he said, may "put a chill on innovation in the long run". There is promise in cryptocurrencies and digital payments, he added, saying also that it was becoming "clear the US is falling behind in this space".

Bemoaning the nation's regulatory and legal framework, rooted in the Securities Act of 1933, he said:

Numerous companies who are active in the cryptocurrency space have told me that due to the archaic and inflexible nature of our regulatory and legal system, it is easier for them to operate and even incorporate overseas. That is incredibly disheartening to hear and should be unacceptable to every member of the Senate.

 

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