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Senior Democrat says he’s on ‘the side of the innovator’ amid crypto debate in Congress

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Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden said he is siding with crypto innovators as other Democrats in Congress express favor of tightening crypto regulations in the US. 

“There is obviously a debate but I want to be on the side of the innovator,” Wyden told the Financial Times. “When I think about crypto I think about remittances, or somebody who has a kid 1,000 miles away and wants to get them help in an emergency, rather than going through scores of banks, credit card companies.”

Several lawmakers on the Democratic side have been advocating for months for stricter control of cryptocurrencies, which Senator Elizabeth Warren once called “the new shadow bank.”

Warren, a longtime critic of cryptocurrency, argued that the industry provides the same services as traditional financial institutions but lacks similar consumer protections and financial stability.

Gary Gensler, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, has also pushed for greater oversight from the agency over crypto.

“Frankly, at this time, it’s more like the Wild West,” he said during a speech in August.

Last week, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine unfolded, public officials spoke out about concerns over the potential for crypto to serve as a way to circumvent economic sanctions, though definitive signs of crypto’s use for this purpose have yet to emerge.

Warren recently tweeted about the topic and later cosigned a letter with three other members of the Senate Banking Committee last week, seeking information from the Treasury Department about what it is doing to address these concerns.

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