U.S. Representative Jared Polis

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Polis calls on Members of Congress to disclose cryptocurrency holdings

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Washington, February 7, 2018 | comments

Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., authored a letter to the House Committee on Ethics asking the committee to formally require Members of Congress to disclose virtual currency holdings. Because virtual currencies are a relatively new type of asset, the House Ethics Committee does not have official guidance for Members of Congress to accurately disclose and classify virtual currency holdings.

“Members of Congress should absolutely be required to disclose cryptocurrency holdings, just as they are required to disclose other assets, as to avoid any conflict of interests,” Polis said. “We must make sure Congressional disclosure requirements evolve with the times.  The public deserves transparency.”

The letter reads, in part:

Members of Congress and covered employees are already required to report certain asset holdings over certain amounts, including reporting any commodities holdings over $1,000. A Member or covered employee should report any virtual currency holding as they would report any other commodity, such as gold […] if a Member or covered employee engages in a transaction involving a virtual currency that exceeds $1,000, including the purchase of a virtual currency as part of an ICO or a commodities future, they must provide an updated financial disclosure.

View the official letter here.

Cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin and Ethereum, are used for purchases, trade, and payment across the globe. There are currently over 1,100 cryptocurrencies, with the most popular being Bitcoin. The estimated value of the cryptocurrency economy is $650 billion. 

Polis and Rep. David Schweikert, R- Ariz., relaunched the Congressional Blockchain Caucus in February 2017 to educate, engage, and provide research to help policymakers address issues raised by blockchain-based technologies and payment methods.

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