(Bloomberg) -- Vivek Ramaswamy vows to rescind most federal cryptocurrency regulations and drastically reduce headcount at the Securities and Exchange Commission if he is elected president.
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Ramaswamy’s proposal, the first crypto plan released by a Republican presidential campaign, calls for a 75% reduction of the federal workforce, including the SEC, and says he would make the deregulation of financial and investment rules a priority.
The SEC job cuts would not only affect roles overseeing crypto, but vastly reduce the agency’s ability to regulate financial markets more broadly.
“Since the inception of crypto, the shadow government in the administrative state in Washington, DC, and its cronies on Wall Street have tried to quash its rise,” Ramaswamy said in a statement Thursday. “That ends on my watch.”
His call to deregulate the crypto industry is a stance that puts him largely out of step with both fellow Republicans and Democrats, especially in the aftermath of the implosion of the crypto empire FTX, which led to the fraud conviction of the organization’s founder, Sam Bankman-Fried. Members of both political parties have called for more oversight of the industry to protect consumers.
Ramaswamy trails former President Donald Trump, former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in polls. His campaign has been marked by parroting of Trump stances, public praise of the ex-president and his willingness to quarrel with the rest of the roster aside from Trump. That has fueled speculation that he could be a possible running mate on a Trump ticket or a nominee for a cabinet-level position in a new Trump administration.
Ramaswamy, the founder of a biotech company, says he would prohibit federal agencies from creating restrictions on crypto wallets held by individuals and clarify that the Bank Secrecy Act does not govern blockchain infrastructure providers.
The plan also calls for reining in the SEC and Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which he says have made “themselves the key gatekeeper for innovation, and deployed ambiguity and politicized hostility” toward crypto.
The SEC has about 4,500 employees, the CFTC, about 700.
Ramaswamy has said he opposes central bank-developed digital currency, which DeSantis also does not support. Ramaswamy’s proposal also ensures crypto code developers are protected by the First Amendment, and will not be prosecuted for their code.
--With assistance from Ben Bain.
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