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Congressman Emanuel Cleaver

Representing the 5th District of MISSOURI

Monitoring Our Evolving Technology

Feb 13, 2018
EC from DC

The more I learn about technology, the more I see that there is so much work to be done. I have been fighting discrimination in the workplace for many years and now that ugly beast has found its way into our evolving technology industry. That is why it is so important to monitor the practices of tech companies and social media.

My latest issue of concern is preventing extremist groups from using cryptocurrency to fund campaigns of hate and violence. Cryptocurrency is basically digital money used to verify the transfer of funds. It operates as an independently run bank online.

Following the deadly rally in Charlottesville, VA last year, digital payment companies have worked to prevent their platforms from being utilized by hateful or violent extremists. However, many of these bad actors have started to rely on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. It was recently reported that the head of a white nationalist movement stated that, “Bitcoin is the currency of the alt-right.”

I believe cryptocurrency has a chance to play an influential role in finance as technology evolves, however, we must work to prevent this technology from being used to fund hate groups. That’s why I wrote a letter to the Bitcoin Foundation and the Chamber of Digital Commerce, calling for these entities to do more to prevent extremist groups from using cryptocurrency to campaign for hate.

Last week, I participated in the House Financial Services Committee’s hearing about the opportunities and challenges of financial technology. While I have some concerns about the fintech industry, I do believe it has the opportunity to be a force of good in our nation, but only if we get ahead of the curve and safeguard against potential racial, gender, or income biases. I hope both sides of the aisle can work together to implement common sense rules to ensure fintech works equally for all Americans.

I am pleased the internet corporations are listening. The Internet Association which represents tech giants like Amazon, Facebook and Google responded positively to Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman and my request to see more diversity among the major tech firms by creating a new position for that role. As a member of the House Financial Services Committee, it is my duty to monitor our nation's financial services industry. Financial technology should not be excluded.


Emanuel Cleaver, II Member of Congress