Human rights are why we mobilized 40,000+ calls to Senators to amend the cryptocurrency provision

Posted August 9, 2021, 9:35 PM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 9, 2021

press@fightforthefuture.org

Fight for the Future fought to defend small developers alongside a concerned global community until the fate of the cryptocurrency provision in the Senate Infrastructure Bill was determined. In the final hours, Sen. Toomey and Sen. Lummis requested unanimous consent for a new compromise. In their press conference to announce the compromise, the two Senators dodged questions about the privacy & security concerns highlighted by Sen. Ron Wyden. And ultimately, their compromise fell short of its goal to protect decentralized technology and failed to pass the Senate. The fight now moves on to the House.

Here’s our statement in response to the failure of any amendment to protect cryptocurrency in the Senate infrastructure bill, which can be attributed to Lia Holland, Campaigns & Communications Director, Fight for the Future (she/they pronouns).

"As human rights activists, we care deeply about the future of the internet and the digital lives of everyday people. Everyone has their own perspective on cryptocurrency for a wide range of reasons—ours is informed by a decade of organizing for human rights, privacy, and free expression. We want a future in which tech is decentralized and impossible for elites and governments to surveil and manipulate. Cryptocurrencies are both a testing ground and a foundational investment in the move to decentralization. That is why we stepped forward to launch #DontKillCrypto

The response to #DontKillCrypto, which sparked over 40,000 calls to legislators and over 10,000 tweets, is the largest we have seen since the height of the protests for Net Neutrality. This is a warning shot to legislators and regulators that the issues at hand aren’t simply about taxes—they’re about the United States’ ability to participate in cryptocurrencies and a decentralized future that puts the rights of people above the exploitative and manipulative business models of Big Tech. 

Policies that impact people’s basic civil liberties and rights in the digital age should never be tacked on to legislation like an infrastructure bill. 

The Senate did some things right here—including extending negotiations and agreeing in theory that small developers and volunteers working on alternatives for a better world should not be shut down by regulations they can’t comply with. But ultimately, the Senate failed the country today by passing unamended ignorant and harmful legislation.

We must protect the software developers who are trying to create alternatives to the Big Tech companies that are destroying human rights and democracy. 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. Privacy & security are essential features of decentralization, promising a better, people-first internet. The secure, surveillance-free world that decentralization can offer is an existential threat to Big Tech, and threatens to dismantle surveillance capitalism entirely. We are proud to fight toward that end.

In our tenth year as an organization, with over 3 million members now behind us, we will continue to defend human rights on the internet from malicious corporate interests and ill-informed legislators."