Proposals included in the “Restricting the Emergence of Security Threats that Risk Information and Communications Technology Act,” better known as the RESTRICT Act, and forwarded to the United States Congress, is worrying privacy advocates and users of digital technology, including those in crypto.
RESTRICT Act Is A Threat To Crypto
While the proposed bill could give the United States government more power to force the sale of foreign-owned apps to United States companies, a provision in the legislation could also see American citizens face up to 20 years in jail and a $250,000 fine for accessing “banned apps” using a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
Most people are not ready for this, not even anons.
New S686 bill:
"minimum 20 year sentence + $250,000 fine" for using a VPN to access "banned apps" https://t.co/U9zdn2guCy
— BowTiedMara (@BowTiedMara) March 28, 2023
The implications of this provision for the cryptocurrency industry could be profound. As digital assets become increasingly popular for making payments and storing value, the government’s ability to monitor and control access to digital payment apps and wallets could devastate crypto, possibly impacting Bitcoin prices.
The bill does not explicitly define what constitutes a “banned app.” However, it could be a cold brush, including cold wallets and other cryptocurrency-related services. The legislation would give the United States government sweeping powers to crack down on any technologies and services it sees as a threat to national security, including VPNs.
How the government will differentiate between individual users and those engaged in criminal activities is unclear.
Crack Down On Privacy?
Privacy advocates have warned that the RESTRICT Act could eradicate any semblance of digital privacy in the United States, with significant implications for individual freedoms and civil liberties.
If passed, the bill will also grant the government absolute powers over any technologies and services it sees as a threat, which includes decentralized technology.
With the recent crisis in the United States banking sector, the bill’s passing could present challenges to crypto, which relies on digital privacy and anonymity to function effectively.
A user pointed out that more than 400 Representatives voted for the bill, approving a $250,000 fine for using a VPN to access content from such countries as China, Hong Kong, Cuba, South Korea, and Russia, or any country that has “a long-term pattern or serious instance of adverse to the United States.”
AOC one of 7 no votes on the RESTRICT Act (S. 686) is her most based and important vote yet.
$250,000 fine for using a VPN to access content. 400+ of your Reps voted for it.
— cory.eth (@cory_eth) March 27, 2023
To maintain its hold on the United States markets, TikTok Chief Executive Officer, Shou Zi Chew, testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee in a five-hour hearing.
Meanwhile, the United States Commodity Futures Exchange Commission (CFTC) is suing Changpeng Zhao and Binance, an international exchange, for violating trading laws and allowing citizens to use the platform.