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Congressman Al Green’s Opening Statement as Chair of the Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations Hearing on Crypto Frenzy

June 30, 2021

(Washington, D.C.) — On Wednesday, June 30, 2021, Congressman Al Green, Chairman of the Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, presented the following opening statement at a hearing entitled, “America on ‘FIRE’: Will the Crypto Frenzy Lead to Financial Independence and Early Retirement or Financial Ruin?”

“It is my pleasure to open the second in a series of Financial Services Committee hearings on issues related to cryptocurrency and digital assets.

“Most of us in this room are old enough to remember these financial calamities that cost so many so much: the 2008 Mortgage Crisis, the Allan Stanford Ponzi Scheme, [and] the Bernard Madoff Ponzi Scheme. In each of these cases, and in others that I haven’t enumerated, investors and financial institutions suffered severe losses, then sought and/or received bailouts from the federal treasury.  Their refrain seems to have been: ‘Keep government out of my life…Until I lose my money.’

“So today we ask: Will there be a bail out of digital asset investors if their investments’ market value drops to 0? If we believe that such is not the role of the federal government, should there be an amount or form of reserves required to backstop digital securities should they fail?  Or, instead, are today’s investors in digital assets entirely reasonable in expecting the federal government to provide a backstop in certain crypto currencies, should these digital assets become large enough to have a systemic impact on our economy? If so, should there be greater federal oversight, and rating agencies to evaluate the risks and performance of digital assets?

“Today’s hearing will consider the answers to these questions and assess the systemic risks to the economy, as well as the risk of loss to individual investors, posed by recent periods of extreme volatility in ‘crypto’ assets that are not backed by any form of tangible collateral.  I am very pleased that we have assembled before us a panel of witnesses ideally suited to help us to unravel the many intertwined issues presented by digital assets, complicated by recent events.”

A link to Chairman Green’s opening statement can be accessed HERE as well as a link to his Q&A of witnesses and closing statement HERE.  The full hearing can be accessed HERE.