It might be heaping too much praise on Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) to say that they were the ones to scare off the payment processors of the Libra Association, but their letters certainly played a part.
However, in a countenance to Libra, as it continues to struggle against regulatory pressure, the Facebook Cryptocurrency project has gained its first supporters in Congress, Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.).
The Senator has penned his own letter – of support – to Nathan McCauley, the president of Anchorage Trust Company, endorsing the project and citing it as an example of a technological advance he feels is needed to aid US consumers.
More so, Rounds has shunned the ominous and negative threats and warnings from his colleagues to the CEOs of Mastercard, Stripe, and Visa rather looking to focus on the positives that could come from Libra.
“Technologies like Libra have the potential to help unbanked and underbanked consumers right here at home,” Rounds wrote, adding:” it would be unfortunate to shun a new solution that could connect more of the most vulnerable Americans to our financial services system.”
A strong undercurrent to Rounds’ letter was his fear of the US falling behind in what is clearly becoming an emerging and important technology for the future. The US has been tolerant, rather than welcoming, of digital currency and blockchain, but this has seen Asia leap ahead.
“I believe that there is promise in cryptocurrencies and digital payments, but regardless of how one views such technologies, it is clear that the United States is falling behind in the space. By 2022, digital wallets – the same kind of product through which consumers will transact Libra – will comprise less than 10 percent of US consumer in-person point of sale payments.” Rounds wrote.
In fact, Rounds went as far as to say he is puzzled by the backlash Libra has faced in the US as cryptocurrencies have become more normalized and legitimized in recent years.
“As it stands, we have no clear legal way to ascertain whether a cryptocurrency is a security. What legal foundation we do have for these types of questions is rooted in the Securities Act of 1933. That law was written more than half a century before computers and the internet were created, more than two decades before Hawaii was admitted to the Union, a decade before the jet engine was developed, and in a period of time in which 90 percent of rural America lacked electricity,” he added.