US Senator Says He Sees “No Reason Why” Cryptocurrencies Exist

In a Sunday appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Montana farmer and teacher turned U.S. Senator Jon Tester told host Chuck Todd that cryptocurrency “wasn’t able to pass the smell test for me”.

The Democratic senator, who sits on the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, was invited on the program to discuss the defection of former Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema.

“You used colorful language to describe encryption,” Todd asked as the segment drew to a close. “Should the government regulate or ban it?”

“One or the other,” Tester replied.

“I couldn’t find anyone who was able to explain to me what’s other than synthetics, which means nothing,” he continued. “The problem is… if we regulate it, it could give it the ability for people to think it’s real.”

“I’m not a regulator and I’m not a financial person who regulates,” Tester denied, but concluded his thoughts on cryptocurrencies by saying, “I don’t see any reason why this stuff should exist. I really don’t.”

Although Tester claims he is not a regulator, his role on the Senate Banking Committee means he has clout as part of one of the key decision-making bodies currently debating how, if not whether, to regulate the currently beleaguered cryptocurrency industry.

“Senator Tester brings a rural perspective to this committee to make sure laws and policies work for small banks, credit unions, small businesses and consumers in rural America,” his website reads.

Senator Tester hasn’t been shy about his distaste for cryptocurrencies, he said Semafor last week, “It’s all bullshit.”

In the wake of the US midterm elections, meanwhile, Democratic Senators have regrouped on the Banking Committee agenda. According to a Appeal report, party leaders were skeptical of the proposed Digital Commodities Consumer Protection Act (DCCPA), which would make the CFTC, rather than the Securities and Exchange Commission or other agencies, the lead authority for regulating cryptocurrencies in the United States.

Also known as the Stabenow-Boozman bill, the move to boost the CFTC was notably backed by Sam Bankman-Fried, who has since become an international pariah when his FTX exchange and trading firm Alameda Research collapsed in spectacular way.

According to AppealSenator Tester warned against giving cryptocurrency further legitimacy and opposed the Stabenow-Boozman bill being introduced in the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee, where Republican Senator from ‘Arkansas John Boozman is a rank member.

“It has to be done in this committee, no [agriculture]so CFTC is a ‘no,'” Tester said.

In 2019, Senator Tester was also a leading critic of Libra, Facebook’s failed cryptocurrency initiative. At the time, he compared the threat of inadequate cryptocurrency controls to the 2008 financial crisis.

“There was a run on banks in 2008, there were some big companies that went bankrupt, including 157 banks, Lehman Brothers, WAMU, Bear Sterns and others,” he said at the time. “Nobody predicted there would be a race like this, nobody.”

He questioned whether Facebook could prevent a similar collapse.

“I was still confident that my money was safe [in 2008]”he said. “How can you assure us, how can we be sure, that our money will be there?”

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