Republicans want telecom companies to preserve phone records of Kamala Harris, Pelosi, AOC, and other Democrats after January 6 committee requested theirs

In this Jan. 6, 2021, file photo insurrections loyal to President Donald Trump rally at the U.S. Capitol in Washington.
In this Jan. 6, 2021, file photo insurrections loyal to President Donald Trump rally at the U.S. Capitol in Washington. The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol is asking social media and telecommunications companies to preserve phone or computer records for hundreds of people who were potentially involved with planning to “challenge, delay or interfere” with the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory.

  • The January 6 select committee announced two weeks ago it will seek electronic records from “several hundred people,” including members of Congress.
  • Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., claimed any company that hands over records to the committee will be “shut down.”
  • Several companies received letters from House Republicans asking to preserve Democrats’ records, including Amazon, Apple, Google, and Microsoft.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona and several House Republicans sent letters on Tuesday to 14 telecommunications companies asking them to preserve the phone records and data of 16 Democrats so that “future Congresses can investigate alleged infractions,” Fox Business reported.

The letters were sent two weeks after the January 6 select committee announced it will seek electronic communication records from “several hundred people,” including members of Congress, for its investigation into the Capitol riot.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene decried the move on the August 31 episode of “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” threatening any company that handed over records to the committee would be “shut down.”

Republican representatives echoed this sentiment in their subsequent letters, one of which was written to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and tweeted by Rep. Paul Gosar: “The US Constitution and the US Supreme Court precedent prevents committees from obtaining these records and prohibits you from providing them. Simply put, neither the committee nor you have the legal authority to provide those records.”

Legal experts told The Washington Post that there isn’t a specific law stopping these companies from handing over information to the committee.

Several other companies also received letters, including Amazon, AOL, Apple, AT&T, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Snap, Inc., T-Mobile, US Cellular, Verizon, Signal, and Telegram.

If the companies decide to turn over records to the January 6 select committee, the letters asked that they also preserve the records of several Democrats, including Vice President Kamala Harris, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Rep. Eric Swalwell, Fox Business reported.

Republican Reps. Jody Hice, Matt Gaetz, Scott Perry, Louie Gohmert, and Madison Cawthorn joined Biggs, Greene, and Gosar in signing the letter to Dorsey.

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Jack Dorsey’s Square is looking to build a decentralized exchange for bitcoin

Jack Dorsey creator, co-founder, and Chairman of Twitter and co-founder & CEO of Square on stage at the Bitcoin 2021 Convention, a crypto-currency conference held at the Mana Convention Center in Wynwood on June 04, 2021 in Miami, Florida.
Jack Dorsey co-founder and chairman of Twitter and co-founder & CEO of Square.

  • Jack Dorsey is planning to build an open platform to create a decentralized exchange for bitcoin through TBD.
  • TBD is a unit of Square, the payments firm Dorsey founded and is the current CEO.
  • Project leader Mike Brock said it will be similar to a decentralized exchange for fiat, only “bitcoin-native, top to bottom.”
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Jack Dorsey, one of bitcoin’s biggest advocates, is planning to build an open platform to create a decentralized exchange for bitcoin through TBD, his new business venture, according to his tweet Friday.

A decentralized exchange is a type of cryptocurrency exchange that allows peer-to-peer transactions without the need for an intermediary.

Dorsey retweeted an original tweet by TBD project leader Mike Brock, who offered some direction on where the unit is headed.

“There’s been a lot of speculation about what TBD is and isn’t,” Brock said in an eight-part Twitter thread. “We wanted to finally share our direction, and we have some questions.”

First, Brock said his team believes that bitcoin will be the native currency of the internet. But the problem, he noted, is how trading bitcoin often involves exchanging fiat at a centralized and custodial service. He mentioned CashApp, a mobile payment service developed by Square, and Coinbase, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the US, as examples.

“These on- and off-ramps to bitcoin have a number of issues, and aren’t distributed evenly around the world,” he said. “While there are many projects to help make the internet more decentralized, our focus is solely on a sound global monetary system for all.”

This is what TBD aims to solve, Brock said. His team wants to make it easy to fund non-custodial wallets globally through a platform that builds on- and off-ramps into bitcoin. Think of it as a decentralized exchange for fiat, he added, one that is “bitcoin-native, top to bottom.”

TBD, which was launched in July 2021, is a unit of Square, the payments firm Dorsey founded and where he is CEO.

It is unclear whether TBD is the name of Dorsey’s latest venture, or if it represents an abbreviation of the phrase “to be discussed.” It does have a Twitter account under the name TBD, though, with the handle @TBD54566975.

“As we said, this platform will be entirely developed in public, open-source, open-protocol, and any wallet will be able to use,” Brock said. “No foundation or governance model that TBD controls. Permissionless or bust.”

He alluded to cost and scalability as some of the gaps TBD is currently seeing, on top of the ability to create an exchange infrastructure that will allow transactions between other digital assets.

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From Ashton Kutcher to Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey, fanatical Bitcoin investors are poised to take a larger role in politics

Jack Dorsey Elon Musk
  • Crypto investors are poised to take a more active role in US politics.
  • In August, the crypto community took a stand against a tax provision in the infrastructure bill.
  • While the group was unable to amend the bill, the effort points to future clashes in Washington.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Crypto investors have begun to take a political stance in recent months as the US government looks to pursue a more stringent policy on the taxation of decentralized currencies like Bitcoin.

Last week, the Senate passed a $1 trillion infrastructure bill that included a provision that would increase tax enforcement on transactions involving cryptocurrencies.

The provision spurred a showdown in Washington DC, pushing senators, crypto investors, social media influencers, and celebrities alike to mobilize. Ahead of the decision, the crypto community generated tens of thousands of calls to Congress, demanding the new tax rules be amended.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk called the tax provisions “hasty,” in a thread on the new tax rules that was started by Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong, who called the policy “disastrous.”

Musk has been outspoken about his support for crypto, in particular Bitcoin. Earlier this year, the CEO temporarily allowed customers to use Bitcoin to buy Teslas – a major step toward entrenching the digital asset into the US financial system.

Ashton Kutcher and Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey also took to Twitter to call for people to take action against the bill. Dorsey said the new reporting rules would push innovation out of the US.

While the crypto community was able to hold up the bill for about a week, they were ultimately unsuccessful in their attempts to amend the bill. But experts say the movement galvanized the community’s role in politics, and paved the way for digital assets to become a more permanent part of the financial system.

The main issue that crypto enthusiasts had with the bill centered around the loose language used to define the role of a “crypto broker,” which could allow people to interpret as involving any type of crypto transaction.

Several lawmakers, including Senators Pat Toomey, R-Pa., and Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo. took a stand against the wording, calling it “unworkable and onerous.” Other political voices quickly followed, calling investors to action on social media.

While the language around the crypto tax is controversial, Cowen Group managing director Jaret Seiberg said in an analyst note on Tuesday that the bill is a sign crypto is here to stay.

“The tax reporting language is one of the clearest indications that Washington is prepared to accept crypto as a permanent part of the financial ecosystem,” he wrote. ” [It] now sees crypto as a real product that is worthy of government attention, [which] tells us that Washington is done looking at ways to end crypto.”

The Wall Street Journal reported that lobbying around cryptocurrency is on the rise. From January to the end of June, crypto companies and organizations spent about double what they had in previous years. Major crypto companies have also begun to hire policy officers with government connections, hinting at more clashes to come.

“The crypto community has really kind of come out as a powerful constituent,” Armstrong said on an earnings call last week. “They’re now actually becoming a vocal participant in the policy efforts around the U.S.”

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Mark Cuban says shutting off crypto ‘growth engine’ would be like banning e-commerce in 1995 as debate rages over infrastructure bill

Mark Cuban
  • Mark Cuban has warned against shutting the crypto “growth engine” as debate rages over the infrastructure bill.
  • The bill includes a provision designed to raise $28 billion from stricter oversight of crypto transactions.
  • Cuban said getting too tough on crypto would be like shutting down e-commerce in 1995.
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Billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban has warned regulators against shutting off what he calls the crypto “growth engine”, saying it would be like banning e-commerce in 1995, as a debate rages about cryptocurrency taxes included in the $1 trillion infrastructure bill.

Cuban, who is a big believer in cryptocurrencies, told the Washington Post: “​​Shutting off this growth engine would be the equivalent of stopping e-commerce in 1995 because people were afraid of credit card fraud. Or regulating the creation of websites because some people initially thought they were complicated and didn’t understand what they would ever amount to.”

The Dallas Mavericks owner and “Shark Tank” star was discussing the debate between crypto advocates and lawmakers over a section in the $1 trillion Senate infrastructure bill that impacts the crypto industry.

As part of the bill’s fundraising provisions, new rules about reporting crypto transactions to the Internal Revenue Service plan to raise around $28 billion by encouraging the payment of more taxes. “Brokers” would be required to provide information on digital asset transfers.

Read more: The future of fintech: Analysts explain why crypto and ‘super apps’ will transform finance – and share 3 stock picks that are ‘about to take over the world’

The crypto industry has pushed back hard against the provision, in part because cryptocurrency “miners” could fall under the definition of broker, putting onerous responsibilities on those users who secure the network and create new coins.

Rights campaigners have also raised concerns that cryptocurrency companies may have to start collecting lots more information on who is using their services.

Cuban’s comments echo those of other cryptocurrency advocates who are afraid of the impact the provision will have on the industry.

Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted on Sunday: “Forcing reporting rules on Americans who develop software and hardware, who mine and secure the network, or who run nodes to build resilience and efficiencies, is an impossible ask that will only drive development and operation of this critical technology outside the US.”

Democratic Senator Ron Wyden and Republican Senators Pat Toomey and Cynthia Lummis have put forward a plan to exempt some crypto users, such as miners, from the reporting requirement. But last-minute debates were set to continue on Monday, as a vote on the final passage of the bill nears.

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Bitcoin falls 5% after rallying above $42,000 to its highest price since May

Bitcoin
Bitcoin

  • Bitcoin slipped more than 5% on Monday after surging above $42,000 over the weekend.
  • After 10 consecutive days of gains, the coin was trading lower by 5.47% to $39,295 as of 9:06 a.m. ET.
  • Technically, bitcoin has closed above the 21-week EMA on Monday, as well as the 100-day SMA, said Marcus Sotiriou of GlobalBlock.
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Bitcoin slipped more than 5% on Monday after the world’s largest cryptocurrency surged above $42,000 over the weekend.

After 10 consecutive days of gains, the coin was trading lower by 5.47% to $39,295 as of 9:06 a.m. ET. It hit $42,606 on Saturday, its highest level since mid-May.

“It seems we’re seeing some profit-taking in bitcoin after the crypto broke $41,000 – a level it’s struggled with since late May,” said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda, in a note Monday.

Still, some metrics suggest a continuation of the recent uptrend, said Marcus Sotiriou, sales trader at GlobalBlock.

Technically, bitcoin has closed above the 21-week exponential moving average on Monday, regarded by many as the key bull market support, as well as the 100-day simple moving average, Sotiriou said.

However, he added bitcoin may fall back to roughly $36,000 or lower before another embarking on another rally.

Investors are looking to a new law in Germany that allows institutional funds to invest as much as 20% of their assets in cryptocurrency, he said. Combined, total assets under management of these funds amounts to around $2 trillion, which translates to around $415 billion that could potentially come into the market. The law took effect Monday, August 2.

Bitcoin has been trading rangebound for the past months after inching near $65,000 in mid-April, its highest price ever. The coin then suffered a massive crash in May, kicked off by Tesla‘s reversal in accepting bitcoin as payment and China’s bitcoin mining clampdown.

More recently, bitcoin has staged smaller rallies after bullish comments from its biggest proponents such as Elon Musk, Cathie Wood, and Jack Dorsey in July. Speculation of Amazon‘s foray into digital assets spurred by a curious job listing also helped push the its price upward.

Bitcoin is up 34% year-to-date.

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Jack Dorsey’s Square agreed to buy Afterpay, which has a ‘buy now, pay later’ service, for $29 billion in stock

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.JPG
Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey.

  • Square announced Sunday it is acquiring the Australian company Afterpay for $29 billion in stock.
  • Afterpay offers a buy now, pay later service, which is becoming increasingly common online.
  • The payment app Square is owned by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The payment app Square agreed to buy the Australian company Afterpay for $29 billion in stock, the company announced Sunday.

Afterpay, which offers a “buy now, pay later” service, launched in the US in 2018. Buy now, pay later models are becoming increasingly common online, with Apple reportedly working on a service to add to its digital wallet, Apple Pay, Insider’s Shannen Balogh reported.

Square, which is owned by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, said that Afterpay’s buy now, pay later service would be used with its Seller and Cash app products.

Read more: A battle is brewing in the buy now, pay later space between Affirm, Klarna, and Afterpay and big players like Apple and PayPal

Afterpay allows consumers to make a purchase in four payments that are to be paid every two weeks. The user pays 25% upfront and can take the product home immediately. The follow-up payments are automatically charged and the user pays a fee if they are unable to make a payment, in which case their account is locked until their balance is paid off.

“Square and Afterpay have a shared purpose,” Dorsey, Square’s CEO, said in a statement. “We built our business to make the financial system more fair, accessible, and inclusive, and Afterpay has built a trusted brand aligned with those principles.”

Dorsey also recently announced Square is creating a new business aimed at helping bitcoin developers create financial services products.

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Bitcoin surges 15% to top $38,000, boosted by comments from influential investors and chatter about Amazon getting into crypto

Bitcoin crypto currency physical banknote and coin imitations.
  • Bitcoin rose 15% to its strongest level since mid-June on Monday.
  • Positive remarks by Elon Musk, Jack Dorsey, and Cathie Wood at “The B Word” event helped drive the gains.
  • Chatter about Amazon possibly accepting bitcoin payments by the end of 2021 are seen as adding further support.
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Bitcoin leapt 15% on Monday to rise above $38,000 for the first time in about six weeks, after remarks from influential commentators and a report that Amazon is considering accepting payments in the cryptocurrency helped restore bullish investor sentiment.

The coin was trading at around $38,750 as of 3:15 a.m. ET, representing a 33% gain so far this year. It had earlier hit a 24-hour high of about $39,544, its highest level since mid-June.

After being stuck in a descending slope for three months, bitcoin broke out at the top end of recent levels following positive comments from leading CEOs Elon Musk, Jack Dorsey, and Cathie Wood at “The B Word” event last week.

Tesla CEO Musk said the electric-vehicle maker would be open to accepting bitcoin as payment again, as long as the mining community strives to move towards efficient energy use. Twitter boss Dorsey said that bitcoin is a big part of the social-media platform’s future, and that he’s working to make an accessible wallet for it via payments company Square.

A report from London’s City A.M. about Amazon possibly accepting bitcoin payments by the end of 2021 also helped drive the digital currency’s move higher. The roll-out may not take long, since the online retail giant has been working on these plans since 2019, a source told the newspaper, it reported.

Amazon is also looking to hire someone to lead its digital currency and blockchain initiatives.

The re-emergence of institutional experts, along with Goldman Sachs’ recent services for institutional trades in bitcoin, helped drive the weekend rally for bitcoin, Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst at OANDA, said in a note on Monday.

“I still believe the entire sector and un-stable coins are complete nonsense that will lose small investors billions, but the people have spoken, and the digital Dutch tulips look ripe for a large rally in the short term,” Halley said.

Read More: 5 crypto experts explain why bitcoin is charging back into a bull market after a brief dip below $30,000 – plus 3 under-the-radar ways to gain balanced exposure to the crypto ecosystem

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Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey says bitcoin’s ‘weird as hell’ community inspires him and reminds him of the internet’s early days

jack dorsey speaks onstage at a bitcoin conference
Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey.

  • Jack Dorsey cited the “weird as hell” bitcoin community as the reason for his support of the digital currency.
  • The Twitter CEO chatted with Elon Musk Wednesday about all things bitcoin-related.
  • Dorsey said bitcoin’s “always evolving” network reminds him of the internet’s early days.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said part of what drives his passion for bitcoin is its community, which he described as being “weird as hell.”

Dorsey chatted everything related to the digital asset in a virtual bitcoin conference with Tesla CEO Elon Musk, ARK Invest CEO Cathie Wood, and Square Crypto Lead Steve Lee on Wednesday.

He cited the bitcoin network as his inspiration for supporting the currency.

“It’s deeply principled, it’s weird as hell, it’s always evolving,” Dorsey said, adding that its community reminds him of the early days of the internet when he was a kid.

“It’s the only reason that I have a career – because I learned so much from people like who are building bitcoin today,” Dorsey said.

Dorsey hopes bitcoin can create “world peace” in an environment driven by “too many monopolies of violence.”

“It’s going to be long-term, but my hope is definitely peace,” he said.

Dorsey has become an influencer for cryptocurrency online. The executive’s account bio reads “#bitcoin,” and he said at Miami’s bitcoin bonanza in June that “bitcoin changes absolutely everything. I don’t think there’s anything more important in my lifetime to work on.”

Musk has also been vocal about his support for the digital currency. He and Dorsey have struck up a friendly rapport on Twitter in recent years.

The Twitter CEO invited Musk to speak at Wednesday’s event in a series of tweets back in late June. They discussed, among other things, the future of bitcoin and the digital asset’s potentially negative effects on the environment.

Wednesday’s chat was one of the pair’s first public appearances.

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‘I might pump but I don’t dump’: Elon Musk outlined his broad approach to crypto investing in a panel also featuring Cathie Wood and Jack Dorsey

Elon Musk
Elon Musk

  • Elon Musk on Wednesday said he is a supporter of bitcoin and wants to see the cryptocurrency succeed.
  • “If the price of bitcoin goes down, I lose money. I might pump but I don’t dump,” Musk said during “The B Word” event.
  • Musk spoke on the panel alongside Twitter chief Jack Dorsey and Ark Invest CEO Cathie Wood.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

Elon Musk on Wednesday detailed his thoughts on cryptocurrencies, saying on a live panel that he is a supporter of bitcoin and would like to see the asset succeed.

“If the price of bitcoin goes down, I lose money. I might pump but I don’t dump,” Musk said during “The B Word” event, which also featured Twitter chief Jack Dorsey and Ark Invest CEO Cathie Wood.

He continued: “I definitely do not believe in getting the price high and selling or anything like that. I’d like to see bitcoin succeed.”

The Tesla boss also admitted that he holds “far more” bitcoin than dogecoin or ether.

“The doge community I think is somewhat irreverent obviously … and it doesn’t take itself too seriously,” he said. “The most ironic and entertaining outcome would be that the cryptocurrency that was started as a joke to make fun of cryptocurrencies ends up being the leading cryptocurrency.”

Apart from cryptocurrencies, he said he only owns stock of Tesla and SpaceX, and confirmed that both companies hold bitcoin in their balance sheets.

The energy consumed by bitcoin mining came under the microscope in May after Musk abruptly suspended the purchase of Tesla vehicles using bitcoin due to environmental concerns.

Since then, his influence over the cryptocurrency community has waned somewhat.

But Musk insisted his reticence on bitcoin’s energy usage is not financially motivated.

While he doubled down on the negative impacts of bitcoin mining on the environment, he did say during the panel that Tesla is open to accepting bitcoin as payment again.

“I do think long-term renewable energy will actually be the cheapest form of energy. It just doesn’t happen overnight,” he said. “But as long as there is a conscious and determined and real effort by the mining community to move towards renewables, then obviously Tesla can support that.”

Cryptocurrencies, led by bitcoin, have struggled recently to rebound from a massive crash in May when the value of the total market dropped by nearly half in just seven days.

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Bitcoin DeFi is on the rise as Jack Dorsey’s Square muscles into territory long held by ethereum

jack dorsey
Jack Dorsey in 2017.

Square CEO Jack Dorsey earlier this week announced his payments company was diving into the decentralized finance space. But he’s not doing it on ethereum, the usual stock-in-trade of DeFi. Dorsey wants to build his platform with bitcoin.

DeFi, which some call the “fourth wave” of crypto, is blossoming. Companies are building it, users are buying into it, and regulators are worried about it. Over $50 billion in assets are locked into a DeFi exchange, according to DeFi Pulse.

But the ethereum-based applications that have come to dominate DeFi, such as Uniswap and Compound, don’t have to be the only option.

Bitcoin DeFi is rising, albeit slowly, and could see significant gains from Square’s entry into the space. By one count, there are at least 26 active bitcoin-related DeFi projects, spanning everything from derivatives trading to payments.

So far, DeFi services have largely been built on ethereum, in part because of the cryptocurrency’s easy use of smart contracts, pieces of code that automate agreements between two parties. 80% of products listed by DeFi Prime, an analytics firm, are based on ethereum.

Smart contracts directly on the bitcoin blockchain could exist in principle, but the technology just hasn’t come to fruition, said Peng Zhong, CEO of Tendermint and a developer at Cosmos, a collective trying to stitch together independent blockchains.

“I’ve heard of smart contracts being able to be built directly on bitcoin for quite a while,” Zhong, a veteran of the crypto world, told Insider. “I do feel like development has stalled a little bit. So we haven’t seen any real examples of this yet.”

The main attempt to create bitcoin DeFi has come through the “Layer 2” network – that is, protocols built on top of “Layer 1,” the main bitcoin blockchain. But by and large, smart-contract protocols on Layer 2 have simply received less development energy than smart contracts on ethereum.

“Ethereum is the network with the most developers,” Tally Greenberg, business development head at Allnodes, told Insider. “But I think the smart contract idea is coming to bitcoin as well.”

“It will take a while for bitcoin to catch up,” she added, noting that even a highly successful bitcoin DeFi ecosystem would be unlikely to hurt ethereum’s development trajectory or price.

As Dorsey’s Square develops its new venture, bitcoin DeFi could get new impetus from Taproot, a protocol upgrade slated for this November. Taproot is supported by broad swathes of the bitcoin community, and will make a number of technical changes to bitcoin that should smooth the process of creating Layer 2 smart contracts.

“There are hundreds of projects on DeFi right now,” said Greenberg.

“The more the merrier!”

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