Crypto Is a 'Crock'? Twitter Reacts to House ICO Hearing

March 15, 2018

Despite the overall measured tone among lawmakers at Wednesday’s House subcommittee hearing on initial coin offerings, a few members of the panel made inflammatory statements.

Social media users responded in kind.

The most incendiary comment came from California Rep. Brad Sherman, who called cryptocurrencies a “crock.” While some Twitter users merely encouraged him to educate himself on the topic, his incredulity that anyone would need alternatives to the legacy banking system and his warnings about a crypto-funded terror attack drew harsher responses.

Still other users simply found Sherman’s ideas about the space amusing.

‘A bright light’

At the other end of the spectrum, Minnesota Rep. Tom Emmer, a member of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus, was lauded on crypto Twitter for breaking with his fellow lawmakers with a full-throated defense of the technology.

He argued that Congress should not attempt to regulate a subject it does not understand, and added that “access to capital is something Democrats and Republicans should celebrate.”

Emmer’s statements were so positive that some on Twitter considered granting him the “cryptodaddy” title, which Commodity Futures Trading Commission chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo has held since his own hearing appearance last month.

Notable figures in the industry also weighed in on the hearing, including Stephen Palley of Anderson Kill, who recently started a practice at his firm focused on cleaning up messes in the crypto space.

Palley, who delights in needling blockchain advocates for making fanciful claims, poked fun at Emmer’s passionate tone.

Despite the fireworks from Emmer and Sherman, Palley appeared to be generally unimpressed with the hearing:

Wednesday’s hearing was the third such event in two months, though the conversation in Congress (and on Twitter) is likely to continue.

Rep. Bill Huizenga, the chairman of the subcommittee on capital markets, securities and investment, concluded the hearing by telling the panelists, “I believe that this is probably hello and not goodbye.”

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