Democratic leadership is failing to grasp decentralization—and it’s showing in some painfully hypocritical ways

Posted August 6, 2021, 5:48 PM

This statement can be attributed to Lia Holland (she/they), Campaigns & Communications Director at Fight for the Future:

“With the Cryptocurrency provision in the Infrastructure Bill, and now the Portman-Warner amendment, the White House and other key Democrats are digging in their heels on legislation that fundamentally misunderstands how cryptocurrency and decentralization works. In the process, they are supporting Big Tech, increasing carbon emissions, and punishing small businesses. Fight for the Future has helped over 15,000 constituents to call their Senators and demand that the Wyden amendment be passed to solve literally all of these concerns, and the misguided Portman amendment get a resounding no.

Decentralized tech is one of the most promising future alternatives to the centralized Big Tech systems that are exploiting and manipulating their users to maximize their profits. A Web 3.0 built on blockchain technology distributed among a vast network of individuals and organizations is an existential threat to the Web 2.0 surveillance capitalist system and many of its harms. It is disconcerting to see Democrats and the White House, who have railed against the abuses of companies like Facebook, Amazon, and Google, working ​​to target individual software developers who are trying to build better alternatives to those companies.

The Portman-Warner amendment is written to support only those who engage in environmentally shortsighted proof-of-work cryptocurrency projects—projects that the vast majority of those in the space are working to move away from in accordance with the urgent need to address climate change and reduce our collective carbon footprint. On the very day that the Biden administration rolled out new targets for electric vehicle manufacturing, they also endorsed this extremely harmful amendment—a slap in the face and perhaps a mortal blow to all those working so hard to create eco-friendly alternatives in the cryptocurrency space.

Finally, the original provision and the Portman-Warner amendment fundamentally misunderstand that decentralized technology is *decentralized*. The law as-written is completely unworkable, requiring many in this ecosystem to produce data that they never have and cannot get access to—by the very nature of the technology.

Democratic leadership and the White House are showing that they have not done their homework on decentralized technology—or, even more concerning, that they have done their homework and that they are acting to stop innovations that could render Big Tech and exploitative financial institutions obsolete. Calls from over 15,000 constituents are a clear message. We hope democratic leadership will finally hear and represent the interests of the very people and causes they purport to serve.”