Strive Asset Management co-founder and 2024 Republican U.S. presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy said he will dismantle most federal cryptocurrency regulations and significantly reduce the workforce of federal regulators like the SEC and the CFTC if elected president.
Ramaswamy unveiled a comprehensive cryptocurrency policy framework as part of his presidential campaign aimed at reshaping the regulatory landscape at the North American Blockchain Summit this morning in Texas.
End to regulation by enforcement
Ramaswamy said in an appearance on Coindesk TV that the plan aims to end the trend of regulation by enforcement and ensure that developers’ code is protected under the First Amendment.
Ramaswamy added that the framework will ensure that “rules are delineated clearly and in advance” to ensure that the regulatory apparatus cannot hamper innovation in the industry.
The stance on deregulating the crypto industry puts Ramaswamy at odds with members of both political parties who have called for increased oversight, particularly in the wake of the FTX crypto empire collapse and the subsequent fraud conviction of its founder, Sam Bankman-Fried.
Despite trailing behind prominent figures like former President Donald Trump, former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in polls, Ramaswamy’s campaign stands out for its alignment with Trump’s positions and potential speculation about a role in a Trump administration.
‘Three Freedoms of Crypto’
Ramaswamy’s proposal — dubbed ‘Three Freedoms of Crypto’ — advocates for a 75% reduction in the federal workforce, including the SEC, making deregulation of financial and investment rules a top priority.
Ramaswamy said that the plan will not only impact roles overseeing the crypto sector but will also diminish the agency’s capacity to regulate broader financial markets. He added:
“Since the inception of crypto, the shadow government in the administrative state in Washington, DC, and its cronies on Wall Street have tried to quash its rise. That ends on my watch.”
The biotech company founder’s crypto plan seeks to prohibit federal agencies from imposing restrictions on individual crypto wallets and clarifies that the Bank Secrecy Act does not govern blockchain infrastructure providers.
According to Ramaswamy, the concept of self-hosted wallets is the embodiment of the “Jeffersonian, Jacksonian vision of financial self-reliance and independence.”
The plan also emphasizes First Amendment protection for crypto code developers, ensuring they are not prosecuted for their code. Ramaswamy said that code should be equivalent to free speech in the modern world, and developers should not be prosecuted for creating programs that are misused by bad actors.
He used the example of the Tornado Cash scandal, where the government arrested the program’s developer instead of prosecuting the people who had misused the platform to launder stolen funds.
Additionally, the proposal aims to rein in the SEC and the CFTC, accusing them of being impediments to innovation with ambiguous and politicized hostility toward crypto.
The plan seeks to direct regulators to enforce only Congress-provided crypto policies and establish an initial safe harbor for new assets before programmatically classifying them as securities or commodities.