Yesterday, U.S. Congressman Warren Davidson (R-OH) introduced “Keep Your Coins” legislation designed to prevent federal restriction on individual user’s virtual currency or wallet transactions. The bills comes following Canada’s highly publicized announcement that its Emergencies Act will allow banks to freeze the financial assets of truckers actively involved in the convoy against vaccine mandates.
The bill would prevent any agency head from prohibiting or otherwise restricting “the ability of a covered user to— (1) use virtual currency or its equivalent for such user’s own purposes, such as to purchase real or virtual goods and services for the user’s own use; or (2) conduct transactions through a self-hosted wallet.”
In an interview with Bitcoin Magazine, Congressman Davidson expressed an urgency around the bill following the financial restrictions on the trucker convoy.
“We shouldn’t use money as a way of controlling people. Of course if there’s criminal activity, you should go after that. But imagine if the same thing were done to a crowdfunded BLM movement. That wouldn’t be okay. It’s not okay with the Freedom Convoy, either.”
Congressman Davison echoed this message on his Twitter account, responding to a tweet that calls Canada’s financial seizures “literal madness”. The tweet includes a February 14 clip of Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister, Chrystia Freeland, declaring “a bank or other financial service provider will be able to immediately freeze or suspend an account without a court order.”
Congressman Davidson has historically been a supporter of individual freedoms and privacy both in crypto and in traditional finance. The KYC acronym for the proposed legislation is a direct play on “Know Your Customer” banking laws, which Davidson has criticized for giving so much private information to the government.
However, despite expressing a desire to protect against regulation, the Congressman has also expressed a strong need for a regulatory agency around crypto, similar to how the SEC functions today.
“We absolutely need a regulatory regime to clarify cryptocurrencies. The status quo is regulation by enforcement, where companies find out they’ve violated SEC regs when they get a demand letter”, he said in a Forbes interview at last year’s Miami Bitcoin Conference. “The absence of clear policy or regulation is being exploited by fraudsters, so failure to act is a failing average consumers and investors.”
Congressman Davidson is currently the Ranking Member for the Task Force on Financial Technology. While the contents of the proposed bill are yet to be available online, Congressman Davidson’s office did provide a copy via email.