The following statement can be attributed to Lia Holland (they/she), Campaigns and Communications Director at Fight for the Future:
“We agree with Senator Warren that the crypto industry is in need of regulation to protect people from bad actors and grifters. Unfortunately, Sen. Warren’s new bill is not that. Instead it’s a weird side-quest against privacy and anonymity with broad repercussions for open source software projects and privacy tools, even those that have nothing to do with cryptocurrencies or digital assets.
Crypto grifters have sparked a well-deserved backlash in Washington, DC—yet the digital rights that underpin our democracy are worth shielding from the crossfire. Instead of undermining technologies that promote digital human rights, Senator Warren should focus on urgently needed solutions to protect people from crypto scams.
Yet, by classifying virtually everyone involved in crypto infrastructure (including software developers) as money service businesses, the bill threatens those who are trying to create alternatives to Big Tech, will undermine human rights and free expression, and imposes harmful surveillance requirements for artists & creators. This puts many fundamental cryptocurrency participants in an impossible position: to either collect information that they structurally cannot get access to, or to operate outside the US. Either way, mass surveillance of everyone in the cryptocurrency ecosystem would be a massive blow to human rights.
Warren is attacking self hosted wallets—which people can use to keep their funds safe from the likes of FTX—as well as privacy-preserving cryptocurrencies and tools that are essential to activists and journalists. That she would seek to chill the work on such solutions without protecting the people who rely on them is disappointing.
Further, it will never be reasonable to treat people seeking financial anonymity as criminals in a country where abortion is illegal in many states, sex work and medical marijuana are still criminalized, and state-by-state rollbacks on the rights of everyone from families seeking gender-affirming healthcare to interracial couples are being discussed as imminent threats. We ask that Senator Warren stop introducing bills premised on the idea that privacy and anonymity are only used by money launderers, criminals, terrorists, and tax cheats. We are eager to work with the Senator on a bill that protects marginalized communities and helps make digital assets the safe alternative to traditional banking we all want it to be.”