Cryptocurrencies, namely bitcoin, bitcoin cash and ethereum, are becoming accepted in the Washington D.C. halls of power — evidenced by the member of Congress and the chair of the House Judiciary Committee Bob Goodlatte’s crypto holdings.
Goodlatte owns between $17,000 and $80,000 in cryptocurrency, according to his annual financial disclosure.
The filing was made in May, ahead of new rules from the House Ethics Committee requiring members of the House to disclose their ownership of cryptocurrency in annual reports, the same way they would disclose any other asset.
The new rules also require lawmakers to report cryptocurrency transactions within 45 days, as is given for other financial transactions.
Goodlatte’s son, Bobby Goodlatte Jr., is reportedly an investor in cryptocurrency wallet provider and exchange Coinbase, though the details of Goodlatte Jr.’s investment are not public.
Goodlatte is also a member of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus, co-founded by member of Congress Jared Polis (who also happens to be one of the richest Democrats, with an estimated net worth of $122 million, according to D.C. publication Roll Call).
People may take the news that another senior politician is investing in bitcoin and cryptocurrencies as a sign that crypto regulation in the U.S. could move in bitcoin’s favor.
While some regulators and lawmakers have called for tightening regulations on digital currencies, there are several members of Congress who are proponents of the industry.
The U.S. — which handles the second largest volume of bitcoin by country, roughly 26%, according to Cryptocompare — is currently inconsistent in its definitions of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
The Securities and Exchange Commission has indicated it views digital currency as a security, while the Commodity Futures Trading Commission says bitcoin is a commodity. The IRS, meanwhile, says cryptocurrency is not actually a currency and defined it in 2014 as property and issued guidance on how it should be taxed.
Investors will be hoping that as bitcoin holders and believers made their way on to Capitol Hill regulation will be clarified, easing business and personal use of crypto.