Top Banking Regulator Nominee Concerned About Tech Giants Controlling Crypto, Undermining Economy: Report

Saule Omarova, President Joe Biden’s nominee for Comptroller of the Currency, is troubled by the prospect of the US dollar being circumvented and replaced by private digital currencies.

While giving testimony before the Senate Banking Committee, the Cornell Law School professor says she is particularly concerned that big tech companies might utilize cryptocurrencies to consolidate even more power.


“My concern is… we may end up in a situation where a large company, like a big tech company, might control all of the infrastructures through which the money that every American and every American business uses in their daily [lives].”

Omarova adds that national sovereignty and the status of the US dollar could be put at risk by multinational companies issuing a competing currency.

“My concern is that in the system where a lot of private actors like Facebook can issue their own version of currency, that can potentially outpace and even displace the US dollar.”

The professor says she prefers for the US dollar to remain the world’s dominant currency.

“I believe that we do have government-issued money right now in this country, and it’s working great, and I worry about allowing private innovation to undermine a lot of important public policies that we need to pursue.”

When asked by Wyoming Republican Senator and cryptocurrency proponent Cynthia Lummis which specific policies that she intends to pursue, the nominee cited national security, to which Lummis replied, “Do you think Bitcoin [BTC] threatens national security?”

Omarova responded,

“I am not an expert on Bitcoin, but I would worry if all of our financial transactions were [reliant upon] some blockchain system where various actors who might actually be located in other countries, not particularly friendly to us, control the functioning of that system. That would be my worry.”

The professor is open to the idea of a central bank digital currency (CBDC), however.

“Central bank digital currency, like any digital currency, would make a couple of things easier to achieve in the financial system than they are today.

One is the efficiency of moving money around… [That] is an incredible risk-reducing tool in the financial system…

The one potential advantage of a CBDC over private stablecoins is that it will be issued subject to statutory mandate, legal decisions made by democratically elected lawmakers.

That would allow the central bank, under the oversight of Congress… to ensure that everybody has fair access to the new form of money.”

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Senator pressures OCC nominee over missing Marxism thesis from Moscow Uni

Pat Toomey, a Republican member of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, is attempting to pressure the nominee to head the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) into handing over her 1989 university honors thesis about Karl Marx.

The Biden administration formally nominated Kazakh-born attorney Saule Omarova — who has been characterized by critics as both anti-bank and anti-crypto — to head the financial regulator on Sept. 29. In vague echoes of McCarthyism, Toomey believes the thesis may show that Omarova has sympathies toward Marxist views.

While Omarova has lived in the US since 1991 and previously served as an advisor to George W. Bush, she previously attended Moscow State University during 1988 and 1989 on The Lenin Personal Academic Scholarship.

In an open letter to Omarova published on Oct. 5, Toomey claimed that she had deleted reference to her thesis “Karl Marx’s Economic Analysis and the Theory of Revolution in The Capital” from her current resume with Cornell Law School, adding that the paper was featured on her resume in April 2017.

The archived resume indicates that the paper was written as part of Omarova’s diploma with honors in philosophy. Toomey states he is requesting the document so that the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs can “fully assess the fitness of individuals to serve in Senate-confirmed executive and independent agency positions.”

He said committee staff had first requested the document from Omarova in September but, “we have not received any assurances that the Committee would receive a copy of the paper in a timely fashion.”

The Biden administration has received criticism over Omarova’s nomination, with detractors pointing to her 2020 statements cheering for lawmakers to “effectively end banking as we know it.” Omarova has also characterized cryptocurrency as a symptom of the existing “dysfunctional financial system.”

However, Democrats have praised Biden’s pick for the nomination, with Senator Elizabeth Warren describing Omarova as “an excellent choice to oversee and regulate the activities of our nation’s largest banks.”

Speaking to the committee on Oct. 5, Toomey described Omarova as an extreme “radical” whose recent policy prescriptions have included state-directed pricing for wages and good, nationalizing the retail banking industry, and an overall “aversion to anything like free market capitalism.” He continued:

“In 2019, she tweeted, ‘say what you will about the old USSR, there was no gender pay gap there. Market doesn’t always know best […] Ms. Omarova clearly knows her views are far outside of the mainstream.”

Senator Ted Cruz also took aim at Omarova of the potential threat she may pose to crypto, tweeting: “Not only is Saule Omarova, Biden’s pick to lead the OCC, a threat to our traditional economy, she also wants to regulate crypto into oblivion. Crypto faces future-defining government regulations. This nomination needs to be stopped.”