Vivek Ramaswamy, a Republican candidate for the United States Presidency, revealed his crypto policy framework titled “The Three Freedoms of Crypto” during the North American Blockchain Summit in Fort Worth, Texas, on November 16.
The central tenet of the framework asserts that developers of smart contract code should not bear responsibility for the actions of individuals utilizing that code. Ramaswamy commits, in the framework document, to direct government prosecutors to target malicious actors rather than the code they create or the developers behind it if he is elected president.
In a specific reference to the sanctions imposed on the crypto mixer Tornado Cash, Ramaswamy argued against targeting code developers, stating that it violates the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. He emphasized the need to focus on individual wrongdoers who breach existing laws.
Furthermore, the policy framework promises to establish regulatory clarity, providing new cryptocurrencies with “safe harbor” exemptions from securities laws for a designated period following their launch. It also aims to prevent federal agencies from imposing rules that restrict the use of self-hosted wallets.
Crypto mixers, including Tornado Cash, enable users to deposit cryptocurrency and route it to an address different from the deposit location. This process involves mingling the deposited funds with those of other users, effectively concealing the identity of the fund recipient.
The U.S. government sanctioned Tornado Cash in August 2022, citing its alleged use in facilitating money laundering. Critics have long contended that penalizing Tornado Cash represents a violation of freedom of speech, specifically applied to the code itself rather than the individuals operating the platform.
Ramaswamy echoed these sentiments in his speech, asserting that code constitutes a form of speech protected by the First Amendment. While his policy framework emphasizes safeguarding developers from legal repercussions, it also addresses broader issues such as regulatory clarity for emerging cryptocurrencies and the protection of self-hosted wallets.
As the Republican presidential primary polls for New Hampshire reveal Ramaswamy ranking third or fourth, his commitment to accepting Bitcoin campaign donations, announced on May 21, aligns with his advocacy for crypto-friendly policies. The Republican candidate’s bid for presidency incorporates a strong stance on protecting the rights of developers and the cryptographic technologies they create.