Senator Richard Shelby has attracted the wrath of the crypto community for blocking a bipartisan amendment to the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill yesterday. The 87-year-old Republican from Alabama allegedly shot down the crypto amendment draft for the sake of his financial donors.
As reported by BTC PEERS on Monday, there was still a chance for the Senate to adopt the crypto-friendly amendment to the infrastructure bill via a unanimous consent request later that day. However, Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) was not going to have any of it.
Senator Toomey introduced the Unanimous Consent process, which needs zero objections to pass a motion. Even though the compromise agreement was widely accepted, it failed to be carried given that Shelby objected with a request to include a $50 billion defense amendment to the bill.
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) already tried to get unanimous consent for his own amendment in a last-ditch effort. His own draft, which seeks to remove the crypto language entirely from the bill, was also shot down by Shelby, who objected for the same reasons.
It is worth mentioning that Shelby was the only member of the Senate to block the crypto-friendly amendment. The decision has made him a perceived enemy crypto community, with many people accusing him of siding with banks to kill the crypto industry.
The compromise amendment sought to change the definition of a crypto broker from an entity “effectuates crypto transfers” to something more precise. After days of back-and-forth, several senators reached an agreement that the definition should exclude non-custodial parties. Following Shelby’s move to shot down the proposed amendment, the default language of the bill was passed today.
On the part of the crypto community, many public figures have speculated that Shelby opposed the motion because his own $50 billion in defense expenditure amendment was not voted in.
Others argued that his decision had nothing to do with his amendment. Rather, the senator was only dancing to the tone of his financial donors, who may consider crypto to be a threat to their sector.
Ryan Selkis, the founder of crypto research firm Messari, opined that Shelby was looking to place his staff in high-paying Wall Street jobs since he would be retiring soon.
Major finance players like MetLife and Citadel are on the senator’s list of donors. His yesterday’s stance is quite unusual, given his track record of actively promoting financial privacy and tax cuts.