The Republican presidential nominee, Vivek Ramaswamy, articulated his stance on cryptocurrency during the North American Blockchain Summit in Fort Worth, Texas, on November 16.
Presenting a comprehensive crypto policy framework titled “The Three Freedoms of Crypto,” Ramaswamy emphasized a key point. He highlighted that creators of smart contract code should not bear responsibility for users’ actions.
Within the framework, Ramaswamy pledged to instruct government prosecutors to target malicious individuals rather than the code developers or the code itself.
Specifically addressing the case involving Tornado Cash, a crypto mixer, he criticized the sanctions imposed on its developers. He asserted that pursuing code creators violates the First Amendment.
Vivek Ramaswamy Backs First Amendment for Code in Crypto Policies
Ramaswamy argued that code is a form of speech and, as such, is protected by the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment.
“I believe that code is a form of speech and is protected by the First Amendment. So, when you take an example, like the case brought against the Tornado Cash folks, for example, put aside the specifics of whether what was done is right or wrong. You can’t go after the developers of code. What you actually need to implement is going after individual bad actors that are breaking the laws that already exist on the books.”
Citing the Tornado Cash example, he contended that legal action should shift its focus. Instead of penalizing the developers of the code, emphasis should be placed on individuals violating existing laws.
He expressed the view that the government should distinguish between malicious actors and those responsibly contributing to the crypto space.
The framework also outlined Ramaswamy’s commitment to providing regulatory clarity for new cryptocurrencies. He proposed the concept of granting “safe harbor” exemptions from securities laws for a defined period after a cryptocurrency’s launch. Additionally, he suggested preventing federal agencies from imposing rules that restrict the use of self-hosted wallets.
Tornado Cash and similar crypto mixers enable users to deposit cryptocurrency, obscuring the recipient’s identity by mixing it with other users’ funds.
Ramaswamy Challenges Crypto Sanctions and Surges in New Hampshire Primary Race
In August 2022, the U.S. government sanctioned Tornado Cash, alleging its involvement in money laundering. Critics, including Ramaswamy, argued that such sanctions infringed upon freedom of speech by targeting the code itself rather than specific individuals.
Ramaswamy is presently polling between 0% and 8% in New Hampshire’s Republican primary. He has positioned himself behind Donald Trump, Nikki Haley, and potentially Ron DeSantis. He previously announced his acceptance of Bitcoin campaign donations on May 21.