House Judiciary Committee Chair Discloses Ownership of Cryptoassets

Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) has disclosed in his annual Financial Disclosure Statement that he owns between $17,000 and $80,000 in cryptocurrencies. Goodlatte is the current chair of the Judiciary Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives; and he may be the first Congressman to disclose that he owns digital assets.

The US Ethics Committee issued new rules about disclosing ownership of digital currencies, but Goodlatte filed his statement on May 10, a month before the new rules came into effect.

The rulings state that all House members must disclose any cryptocurrency holdings valued at over $1,000; they are required to also disclose any cryptocurrency assets held in their spouses’ names. Any crypto transactions over $1,000 must also be reported within 45 days.

According to the statement, Goodlatte primarily has holdings in Bitcoin (BTC), as well as some holdings in major altcoins including Ethereum (ETH) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH).

Bobby Goodlatte Jr., the Congressman’s son, is reportedly an angel investor in Coinbase, the San-Francisco-based crypto exchange. It is unclear how much he invested in the company and when.

The perception of cryptocurrencies is a mixed bag in Congress. Some regulators are openly critical of cryptocurrencies and treat them with suspicion. Some say that cryptocurrencies will only “help terrorists and criminals move money around the world” (Representative Sherman, of California). Some believe cryptocurrencies are a “crock” and others have for tighter regulations on the trading of cryptoassets.

However, several members of Congress have been outspoken proponents of the emerging industry. Among them are Congressman Jared Polis (D-Colorado), who is well-known for the establishment of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus, a group created with the intent to enable the expansion of blockchain technology and encourage a hands-off regulatory approach.

Senator Mark Warner (D-Virgnia) has earned a reputation as a crypto-bull from his prediction that the market’s capitalization will exceed $20 trillion by 2020. “I was an early investor in cell phones back in the ’80s, and I believe blockchain has the potential to be just as transformational as cell phones. As our government begins to look at crypto, I don’t think you can separate cryptocurrencies from the technology they’re based on,” said Warner.

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