Congressman’s Call for Crypto Ban Sparks Social Uproar

In the span of a few hours, it became Crypto Twitter vs U.S. Representative Brad Sherman.

On Wednesday, Congress hosted a pair of back-to-back hearings on the topic of cryptocurrencies (read CoinDesk’s coverage here and here), which notably saw Rep. Sherman – no stranger to controversy among crypto circles – call for a blanket ban on “buying or mining cryptocurrencies.”

And while Sherman is just one lawmaker among more than 400, social media observers quickly turned their sights on the California Democrat. For example, Sherman was accused of bias because his largest donor this past election cycle is a credit card payments firm based in Los Angeles (where his district, California’s 30th Congressional, is based).

Sherman’s declaration – and indeed, the wider social conversation around the twin hearings – led to a boost for the #CryptoCongress hashtag. According to data from Twitter analytics site Keyhole, the hashtag had a reach of over 1 million accounts and more than 2.7 million impressions from the start of the hearings yesterday to today.

As for Sherman himself, whether the member of Congress has any remarks on the hubbub remains to be seen – as of press time, Sherman’s office hadn’t responded to a request for comment.

From the moment that Sherman issued his remarks, the response was, to put it bluntly, unsparing:


And as might be expected, the oft-used criticism that the U.S. government is endlessly printing dollars came to the fore (likely in light of Sherman’s partial focus on mining, a process by which units of cryptocurrency are created). 

Some of the harshest words came in the form of accusations of a conflict of interest, given the Allied Wallet connection.

A few of them even probed deeper into this matter, highlighting how Allied, back in 2010, forfeited $13.3 million to the U.S. government as part of a settlement over payments linked to illegal online gambling. 

But could the uproar lead to actual political repercussions for the California Democrat? In the wake of the hearing, the hashtag #UnseatSherman2018 began to appear, and several observers claiming to be from the Golden State said that they wouldn’t vote for him in the next election.

What’s resoundingly clear is that the crypto social sphere – often a scene of acrimony and sniping over a variety of subjects – largely came together in light of Sherman’s remarks. As the saying goes,  “having an enemy is a great way to unite a community.”

Image via C-SPAN

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