Newly Elected US House Whip Emmer Downplays FTX Meltdown, Cheers Crypto

Rep. Tom Emmer, a co-chair of the congressional blockchain caucus, was chosen for a leadership role in the next Congress and is bullish on digital assets in the wake of FTX.

AccessTimeIconNov 16, 2022 at 6:35 p.m. UTC
Updated Nov 16, 2022 at 9:41 p.m. UTC
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Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.), who Republicans have picked for a key leadership role in the next Congress, dismissed policymakers’ crypto anxiety after the dramatic collapse of global crypto pillar FTX and said coming up with digital assets legislation next year “could be a lot of fun.”

“We need to use the stage that is Congress to promote all of you beyond the walls of the Capitol,” Emmer said Wednesday at a Blockchain Association event in Washington. “People need to understand more out there that they shouldn’t be afraid of this.”

Emmer, elected as the incoming whip who will organize Republican members of the House for legislative votes, cautioned against making too much of the situation with FTX, whose contagion has been knocking down dominoes of other significant crypto firms since the news of its failure last week.

"This actually might be a failure of character,” Emmer said. “It's very disappointing to me. The guy, he tweeted out that he really F-ed up – I think that's an admission on its face,” he said in reference to the comments of former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried.

"You are here to stay,” he said, addressing the crypto policy crowd. “You are going to continue to grow. This incident might have put everybody back a certain amount. We'll see."

Anyway, Emmer concluded: “You do not get growth without taking risk.”

He said do-gooders shouldn’t be allowed to “rush in and put a huge wet blanket of regulation atop this industry just because something didn't go right.”

Emmer is a member of the House Financial Services Committee, which – in the event the Republicans’ majority is ultimately decided as this month’s election tallies are completed – may be led by a new chairman, Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) Emmer said the bipartisan work on crypto policy there – seen this year in negotiations over a stablecoin bill – should be seen as an example by the rest of Congress.

Crypto advocates in Washington routinely maintain that crypto policy is a non-partisan issue that can move forward even in a divided Congress. However, this week’s rhetoric from Democrats such as Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, has painted a harsh picture of crypto suspicion. And many Republicans have been defending the industry, arguing to separate the actions of FTX from the crypto technology underpinning the business.

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Jesse Hamilton

Jesse Hamilton is CoinDesk's deputy managing editor for global policy and regulation. He doesn't hold any crypto.


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