Andrew Yang, the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, has now become the pro-cryptocurrency candidate. Crypto was recently added to his list of platform priorities, joining Yang’s push for policies such as universal basic income, Medicare for all, and human-centered capitalism.
Who Is Andrew Yang?
Andrew Yang is a tech-savvy lawyer who hails from the startup scene. His support of memes and “tech-bro” reception have taken the community by storm, garnering support from Silicon Valley, millennial voters, and internet communities such as Reddit and 4chan.
Yang is the founder of Venture for America, a non-profit that is attempting to “revitalize American cities and communities through entrepreneurship,” especially in the US Rust Belt states. His platform, under the Democratic party, supports initiatives such as universal basic income (UBI), Medicare for all, and now—Bitcoin adoption.
Yang on Crypto
Bitcoin, cryptocurrency, and digital assets were recently added as a priority for Andrew Yang’s presidential platform. According to a release on his campaign’s policies page:
“Investment in cryptocurrencies and digital assets has far outpaced our regulatory frameworks in the US. We should let investors, companies, and individuals know what the landscape and treatment will be moving forward to support innovation and development. The blockchain has vast potential.”
His stance emphasizes that cryptocurrency has grown to represent a large amount of economic activity in the US. Between blockchain-related startups, Bitcoin, and altcoins, the industry represents an industry capitalized in the hundreds of billions. Yet, the government’s response and regulations (or lack thereof) has stifled growth, suggests Yang’s platform.
Creating a Clear Regulatory Framework
According to the page, multiple federal agencies have attempted to claim jurisdiction over crypto. Agencies such as the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), alongside states, have issued unclear and sometimes conflicting regulations on Bitcoin and cryptocurrency. Yang’s platform goes as far as to call some state regulations “onerous,” citing New York’s BitLicense—coinciding with Bittrex’s recent rejection for the license.
That said, the SEC seems to have taken steps to provide further clarity. On Apr. 3rd, the staff of the SEC’s Strategic Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology published a framework for evaluating whether a digital asset is a “security” under federal law.
On the same day, the staff of the Division of Corporate Finance published a no-action letter involved a proposed token offering—concluding the agency would not recommend enforcement action against a proposed offering, as there was no “security” involved. The steps were met by lukewarm reception from the crypto-community, with some asserting that little clarity was provided in how coins are classified as utilities or securities.
These constraints have made it difficult for the US to compete against countries with more favorable regulations, with places in Europe and Asia fostering growing blockchain industries. As such, regulations in the US have caused its investment into crypto lag behind other countries, assets Yang’s platform.
Overall, the US regulatory response has had a “chilling effect on crypto.” Instead, Yang calls for a “clear national framework” for regulating digital assets:
“It’s time for the federal government to create clear guidelines as to how cryptocurrencies/digital asset markets will be treated and regulated so that investment can proceed with all relevant information.”
His Stance on the Issues
Yang’s goal is to create clear guidelines so builders and investors can innovate in the industry without fear of regulatory shifts or arbitrary punitive action. Alongside a clear legal framework, if elected president Yang claims he will:
- Provide clarity over the property, commodity, and security treatments of cryptos;
- Define how coins are defined as utility tokens or securities;
- Define which federal agencies—such as the SEC and CFTC—have power over crypto;
- Clarify the tax implications of using and trading bitcoin and other coins.
Yang plans to model his policies after the progressive pro-blockchain work accomplished by Wyoming legislators and the sponsors of the Token Taxonomy Act. For those who believe in mass adoption, then this 2020 presidential election is the time where your vote will count.