Crypto Smacked Down as US Infrastructure Bill Passes

All attention now moves to the House, to get the crypto provision amended before it destroys the industry in the USA.

Crypto Smacked Down as US Infrastructure Bill Passes

Cryptocurrency took a massive blow this week as the US passed its massive Infrastructure Bill that details a $550 Billion spending plan. The crypto world became outraged when last-minute provisions were added to the bill that would take direct aim at the cryptocurrency ecosystem, vaguely re-defining crypto operators (such as stakers, software developers and miners) as “Brokers” and requiring them to now, “... report customer information, including transactions”.

In a quick and coordinated effort to quash it, Senators Wyden, Lummis, and Toomey submitted an amendment to clarify the term “Broker”, then Senators Portman and Warner submitted a competing amendment which would have been devastating for crypto. All further amendments were halted, so a compromise amendment that both of these competing factions agreed on was created. It needed an unanimous vote to pass, and despite fantastic efforts from the likes of Senators Ted Cruz, Rob Portman, Pat Toomey, and Cynthia Lummis, it was struck down by a lone Congressman from Alabama. Senator Richard Shelby objected to the crypto amendment on the grounds that he couldn’t add an additional $50 billion to the defense budget within it.

And that’s how the political system in the USA works.

The bill expects that as much as $28 Billion will be raised in taxes through this new provision but has yet to specify how it would identify, enforce or even collect said revenue. 

Concurrently, the US House of Representatives has two separate bills floating around that are still seeking to define what “crypto” even is; so it may be a while before the DeFi world feels any heat at all. In a glass half-full POV, which is all we can do right now, crypto enthusiasts can at least view this as official recognition from the US government that crypto is real, powerful and worthy of attention.

While there is much negative sentiment towards politics from the crypto community right now, Ryan Selkis perhaps summed it up best:

“I’m sick of feeling like we have to apologize for our early stage and walk on egg shells around politicians and regulators. We built a $2 trillion financial market from scratch in less than a decade with absolutely no institutional help and active encumbrances from government. … Like other early stage, transformational tech markets, there are some characters, some bad actors. But mostly it’s just brave entrepreneurs and innovators. Don’t spit in our face and pretend you’re here to save people from us. We started this movement to save people from you.”

Here’s our summary of the Infrastructure Bill's crypto provision battle on The Hash this week:

Apple Takes a Bite Out of Crime...and Privacy

Ever since the public consumer became wise as to just how vulnerable their privacy can be, Apple has been one the most outspoken advocates for privacy, championing their own products as the most secure, private choice. In a sudden backslide, much to the surprise of everyone, Apple announced late last week that they plan to implement a new software update that will scan each iPhone’s photos for contraband, in an attempt to stop child pornography. The software would use Apple’s “neuralMatch” algorithm and scan photos that are stored on the user’s iPhone, use a process called “hashing” to convert them into numerical strings and then compare them with a database of verified images of child sexual abuse.

Obviously we want bad people and actions to be stopped. But this act by Apple, amounts to a huge invasion of privacy. You can bet that once that technology is endorsed, accepted, and downloaded on everyone's phones, it will be used for far more than just checking for illegal images. Time and again, law enforcement, politicians and government officials use hot-button topics such as this to pull at heart strings and pass rules like this under seemingly benign auspices, but you can be very sadly certain that it never is as simple as saving the children.

Matthew D. Green, Cryptography Professor at Johns Hopkins put it best via his tweet:


“Whether they turn out to be right or wrong on that point hardly matters. This will break the dam — governments will demand it from everyone. And by the time we find out it was a mistake, it will be way too late”.

Matthew Green and I discussed Apply’s bombshell news on the show:

AMC to accept Bitcoin later this year

After their latest Q2 shareholder meeting early this week, AMC CEO Adam Aaron announced via twitter that AMC plans to add Bitcoin later this year as an official form of payment at the popular theater chain. During the Q2 shareholder meeting on Monday, “willingness to accept crypto at AMC locations” was one of the most asked questions, and his immediate agreement to take steps to implement it was heavily praised by the Reddit and crypto communities alike. Indeed Aaron has publicly embraced the Reddit community, who now refer to him as “The Silverback”. In addition to Bitcoin, Aaron also stated that Apple Pay and Google Pay will also be added as official forms of payment.

Lionel is not MESSIng around with NFTs

Lionel Messi, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest soccer players to ever play the game, is celebrating his legacy 2021-style.  The 34 year-old International Soccer Superstar, who captained the winning team at the Copa America soccer tournament in South America just signed a deal with blockchain platform, Ethernity Chain to release a commemorative set of NFT artwork by Australian artist Bosslogic, who has previously done work for Disney and Marvel, respectively. Cleverly titled, “The Messiverse”, the collection will be made available to fans via the Ethernity Chain platform on August 20th at 9:00pm UTC.

There and Back Again...a Hacker’s Tale

The Poly Network, a DeFi platform that allows users to transfer digital tokens from one blockchain to another, was successfully hacked on Tuesday, losing over $600 million worth of cryptocurrency. The team at Poly identified three addresses where the stolen crypto was transferred and immediately asked for its safe return. In a tweet they pleaded, “We call on miners of affected blockchain and crypto exchanges to blacklist tokens coming from the above addresses”. 

To theirs and the crypto-holders’ relief, the request was granted and funds started to trickle back in on Wednesday with the hacker embedding the following message to transactions saying, "ACCEPT DONATIONS TO "THE HIDDEN SIGNER" NOW. ENCRYPT YOUR MSG WITH HIS PUBKEY".  This message has prompted some users (who were not affected) to begin panhandling and asking for him to fund their own wallets. 

At this time, Poly Network has received most of the money back, and have in returned offered a $500k bug bounty to whom they are calling “Mr. White Hat” as a payment for helping find vulnerabilities in the software.

They also said they hoped the hacker would contribute more to the sector's development.

The hack ranks as one of the largest crypto hacks in history.

By Will Sandoval NBTV Associate Producer, and Naomi Brockwell.

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