Despite His Comment, Congressman Isn’t Going to Fund Border Wall With ICO
12.14.2018

Another day, another problematic scheme from a politician about cryptocurrency. Republican Ohio member of Congress Warren Davidson has been working on making his state a leader in cryptocurrency. He’s spoken to the media about its applications, telling CNBC in September that the cryptocurrency is “incredibly efficient” and that he wants to bring regulations to it as a way to “prevent fraud.” Earlier this month, Davidson announced plans to introduce cryptocurrency and ICO regulations at a “Blockchain Solutions” conference in Cleveland.

Then, speaking to NPR two days ago, Davidson suggested the “Wall Coin.”

In late November, Davidson introduced a bill that would allow private funding for a U.S./Mexico border wall, called the Buy a Brick, Build the Wall Act. “Open border radicals make our country less safe for families everywhere,” he said in a statement at the time. When NPR’s Steve Inkseep asked Davidson weeks later why he was discussing private funding for the wall “when the president said Mexico was going to pay” for it, Davidson replied that anyone could choose to donate funds to his proposed program, including Mexicans.

“You mean like this highway is adopted by a certain organization?” said Inkseep. “You could buy a part of the wall?”

“Sort of,” said Davidson. “You could do it with this sort of, like, crowdfunding site. Or you could even do blockchain, and you could have Wall Coins. But you could raise the money. And frankly, if we get it right at the Treasury, you could even accept Mexican pesos.”

That was it. Then the conversation turned to the president’s “legal troubles.”

Davidson’s “Wall Coins” is a throwaway comment, and not a plan he’s going to implement. Mexicans contributing to a sort of border wall ICO is unlikely.

Indeed, a representative from Davidson’s office said that a “Wall Coin” funding plan for a border wall is not “currently in the works” and has not even been discussed by Davidson outside of the NRP interview.

“The concept, it’s certainly something that’s cool, that would be unique and has to do with [Davidson’s] Buy a Brick, Build the Wall Act,” the spokesperson told BREAKER. “It was more meant to highlight his overall vision to make it easier for entrepreneurs to raise capital for their projects.” Funding a border wall for the U.S. government isn’t quite like entrepreneurs raising money for their businesses, but to some, apparently, an ICO is an ICO.

However, Davidson isn’t the first Republican in Congress to suggest crowdfunding a U.S./Mexico border wall. Back in May, Representative Diane Black from Tennessee introduced the Border Wall Trust Fund Act, which would let the Treasury accept public donations for the wall through a “publicly accessible” website. Other crowdfunding border wall efforts include a “Fund the Border Wall” website that’s made over $130,000 since September and a Fundly page that has raised a grand total of $5,854 of its $550,000 goal.

Other bills sponsored by Davidson include the Drain the Swamp Act of 2017, which proposed to repeal the requirement that government offices have to be located in Washington, D.C., and a proposal to make the number of Senate representatives in each state correspond to their populations.

Ohio so far has made actual cryptocurrency moves. Since Davidson hosted a roundtable on the technology in September, his state has made it possible for businesses to register to pay their taxes using bitcoin.