River Financial CEO: Federal infrastructure bill should not regulate Bitcoin

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 15, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — River Financial CEO and cofounder Alex Leishman today expressed disappointment in Senate passage of the…

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 15, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — River Financial CEO and cofounder Alex Leishman today expressed disappointment in Senate passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act earlier this week, which included language that could impose serious harm on the Bitcoin industry and related businesses.

«It’s disappointing that Senators would attempt to rob the infrastructure of the future to pretend to pay for the crumbling infrastructure of the past. With around 46 million Americans owning Bitcoin, the Senate has threatened not only the well-being of the citizens it purports to represent, but America’s best chance at technological leadership in the new millennium. We urge the House to strike the harmful provision and we look forward to engaging with lawmakers to create thoughtful rules that ensure compliance without harming innovation.

The language related to cryptocurrency is overly broad and would encompass entities like Bitcoin miners, software developers, and node operators, into the definition of a broker even though such entities cannot possibly comply with tax reporting obligations. These businesses would face a devastating choice: shut down entirely or take their expertise and innovation overseas to friendlier jurisdictions.

The current text may also lead to reporting requirements on new categories of crypto-specific data for the tens of millions of Americans who already own Bitcoin. This reporting rule would be significantly more burdensome than the requirements imposed on legacy financial institutions. It risks further limiting American innovation in this growing industry and exposes Americans’ sensitive personal data to leaks and abuse.

Leishman continued, «River Financial joins the Bitcoin community in its frustration over this poorly-written, last minute language that will seriously damage American leadership and innovation in cryptocurrency without actually accomplishing the purported goal of raising tax revenue. America has a historic opportunity to be a global leader in Bitcoin development while repressive regimes like China and Iran are cracking down on it. But if the Senate language is enacted, we’ll be making the same mistake as those authoritarian nations.»

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SOURCE River Financial Inc.