Wyoming candidates for U.S. House: Gov’t hands off cryptocurrency

Jul. 1—CHEYENNE — Candidates seeking to represent Wyoming as the state’s sole member of the U.S. House of Representatives were generally of a similar mind on cryptocurrency, at least according to their answers during a debate.

The Republican politicians and would-be elected officials generally said they want the U.S. government to take a hands-off approach to crypto. They spoke Thursday night during a debate televised on WyomingPBS, and were asked about their stances on virtual currency. (Their comments follow, in chronological order of their responses.)

Harriet Hageman noted she had just visited a bitcoin mine in Gillette. “I am definitely learning about that,” she responded to the question. “I think that it’s something that we need to be exploring, but we want to keep the federal government out of it.” She mentioned the Securities and Exchange Commission and called crypto “an important states’ rights issue.”

Robyn Belinskey “has been in touch with some folks about the bitcoin mining,” she said. “Just being able to utilize it, in replacement of gold, because there is no way you can haul gold to the grocery store.” It’s a way “to keep income and not have it taken.”

Crypto “has some fascinating and important possible uses for the future,” stated U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney. “I think we need to be very careful, though, about the kinds of cryptocurrency we are seeing.” She noted China’s government has a form of crypto that can allow for surveillance. “People need to understand what’s happening with their data,” she continued.

State Sen. Anthony Bouchard, R-Cheyenne, also wants the federal government to keep out of virtual currency matters. “I would like the government to stay out of it. I think that’s the biggest problem we have right now.” He wants to have “more conversations” about what he called “honest money,” given that the U.S. dollar “is not even backed by gold anymore.”

For his part, Denton Knapp asked about “the bigger picture” and “what does our world consider currency.” At one point, “the dollar was it,” and it was backed by gold. Then, he continued, “it switched to oil as a means of measuring wealth for a country. We need to take a look at where the cyber money fits in in the process.”

Jonathan Make is the Wyoming Tribune Eagle’s assistant managing editor and editor of the Wyoming Business Report. He can be reached at jmake@wyomingnews.com or 307-633-3129. Follow him on Twitter @makejdm.