Congressman Talks Smack About Bitcoin Creator 'Saratoshi Nagamoto'

In a Financial Services Committee hearing this week, Rep. Brad Sherman (D–Calif.) had some choice words for bitcoin bros:

“We are told that cryptocurrency is very innovative,” said Sherman. “Look at the incredible financial innovation of Enron and WorldCom,” he continued, implying that bitcoiners are fraudsters. “I don’t believe that Saratoshi Nagamoto was innovative,” he added.

He is, of course, butchering the name of Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous person (or group of people) who 15 years ago released the nine-page bitcoin white paper sketching out a “peer-to-peer electronic cash system” which would bypass financial institutions and be fully censorship-resistant.

Though bitcoin today is not yet used as a medium of exchange to the degree that many had thought, due to the long processing times of transactions, the Lightning Network is beginning to solve this scalability problem. And the promise of bitcoin delivering financial freedom to all who want it—”an escape hatch from tyranny,” in the words of the Human Rights Foundation’s Alex Gladstein—is being borne out as it becomes more widely adopted, fulfilling Satoshi’s vision.

Sherman has previously compared crypto to cocaine and organ harvesting. “There’s this fear of missing out that we gotta keep up with other countries,” he told Bloomberg back in May. “Peru is way ahead of us in cocaine production. China is way ahead of us in organ harvesting. We don’t need to keep up on those things, and we don’t need to keep up on crypto.”

Sherman, like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.), who compared buying bitcoin to buying air, seems to fundamentally misunderstand the features of the technology he seeks to regulate (an all-too-common tale for our ancient legislators). In 2021, Sherman said cryptocurrency, which he believes should be considered a security, is considered by advocates to be “an attack on the powers of society” when in fact “the advocates of crypto represent the powers in our society,” saying that J.P. Morgan, BlackRock, and Goldman Sachs have made so much money off of crypto that it undermines the fundamental proposition. (Tell that to Senegalese app developer Fodé Diop, who correctly calls bitcoin “a weapon for us to fight oppression.”)

Sherman has also said that bitcoiners’ political contributions to lawmakers would result in regulators going easy on it, which has not turned out to be true.

Here’s a hint: If you’re getting Satoshi’s name wrong, chances are you might not know very much about bitcoin. What else might you be getting wrong?

For more on U.S. legislators’ war on bitcoin, check out this documentary Reason produced last month: