Democratic Congressman Blasts Cryptocurrency Executives, Tells Them Crypto isn’t ‘New and Hip’ at All


Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) tore into cryptocurrency enthusiasts on Wednesday for believing they were into something “new and hip,” and argued that adherents of cryptocurrency “represent the powers in our society.”

He made the comments during a session of the House Financial Services Committee in a reference to cryptocurrencies and to stablecoins, which are digital assets theoretically pegged to the value of a physical currency. “What they share is a culture, a vibe, a ‘stick-it-to-the-man’ moniker,” Sherman said. “A belief that somehow this is new, and hip, and an attack on the powers of society. But the fact is that the advocates of crypto represent the powers in our society.”

He directed the remarks at witnesses who appeared before the committee, including Sam Bankman-Fried, the 29-year-old billionaire founder of cryptocurrency exchange FTX; along with Bitfury Group CEO Brian Brooks; Stellar Development Foundation CEO Denelle Dixon; and Coinbase CEO Alesia Jeanne Haas.

“The powers in our society on Wall Street and in Washington have spent millions and are trying to make billions or trillions in the crypto world,” Sherman said, citing JPMorgan, as well as SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and “the CEOs before us today.”

“Today we hear from the lobbyists, the PACs, and their power, and we wonder why we won’t be able to protect investors,” he added. “With all the money and power on one side, we will not be able to pass meaningful legislation.”

He spent the balance of his five-minute testimony grilling Haas on Coinbase’s trading fees, which he believed were 2.99 percent — adding up for a total of $6 on a theoretical deposit and withdrawal of $100.

“I could lose six bucks in two days?” Sherman said. “Buy $100 of Tether, a couple days later sell $100 of Tether — could I lose six bucks?”

After some confusion, Haas noted, “Four — it’s a 2 percent charge.”

“A 2 percent charge?” Sherman replied in confusion. “I thought it would be a 3 percent charge. It was $2.99 last time I was on your site.”

“No,” the Coinbase chief replied.

Persisting, Sherman went on, “OK, I’m looking at a Coinbase fee $2.99 USDT, we’ll put this on the record — in any case, to lose even 2 percent, let alone 3 percent, and then another 2 or 3 percent on the way out is scarcely a couple of days, that’s well over 1000 percent interest lost in that period of time.”

Coinbase’s main website, which acts like a brokerage and wallet service, has traditionally charged a flat fee — not a percentage — of $2.99 on transactions in excess of $50 but less than $200, with percentage fees on transactions above $200. Fees on its trading platform, Coinbase Pro, run on a scaled basis according to trading volume and begin at .5 percent.

Watch above via CNBC.

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