Mark Cuban says shutting off crypto 'growth engine' would be like banning e-commerce in 1995 as debate rages over infrastructure bill

Mark Cuban says shutting off crypto 'growth engine' would be like banning e-commerce in 1995 as debate rages over infrastructure bill
Wilfredo Lee/AP Photo
  • Mark Cuban has warned against shutting the crypto "growth engine" as debate rages over the infrastructure bill.
  • The bill includes a provision designed to raise $28 billion from stricter oversight of crypto transactions.
  • Cuban said getting too tough on crypto would be like shutting down e-commerce in 1995.

Billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban has warned regulators against shutting off what he calls the crypto "growth engine", saying it would be like banning e-commerce in 1995, as a debate rages about cryptocurrency taxes included in the $1 trillion infrastructure bill.

Cuban, who is a big believer in cryptocurrencies, told the Washington Post: "​​Shutting off this growth engine would be the equivalent of stopping e-commerce in 1995 because people were afraid of credit card fraud. Or regulating the creation of websites because some people initially thought they were complicated and didn't understand what they would ever amount to."

The Dallas Mavericks owner and "Shark Tank" star was discussing the debate between crypto advocates and lawmakers over a section in the $1 trillion Senate infrastructure bill that impacts the crypto industry.

As part of the bill's fundraising provisions, new rules about reporting crypto transactions to the Internal Revenue Service plan to raise around $28 billion by encouraging the payment of more taxes. "Brokers" would be required to provide information on digital asset transfers.

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The crypto industry has pushed back hard against the provision, in part because cryptocurrency "miners" could fall under the definition of broker, putting onerous responsibilities on those users who secure the network and create new coins.

Rights campaigners have also raised concerns that cryptocurrency companies may have to start collecting lots more information on who is using their services.

Cuban's comments echo those of other cryptocurrency advocates who are afraid of the impact the provision will have on the industry.

Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted on Sunday: "Forcing reporting rules on Americans who develop software and hardware, who mine and secure the network, or who run nodes to build resilience and efficiencies, is an impossible ask that will only drive development and operation of this critical technology outside the US."

Democratic Senator Ron Wyden and Republican Senators Pat Toomey and Cynthia Lummis have put forward a plan to exempt some crypto users, such as miners, from the reporting requirement. But last-minute debates were set to continue on Monday, as a vote on the final passage of the bill nears.