Ex-Yang Aide is running for Parliament with Bitcoin and UBI in his mind

For US lawmaker Jonathan Herzog, financial exclusion is not a talking point; it has life experience.

At the launch of his parliamentary executive, he said, Herzog went to Bank of America and Citibank and tried to open a campaign checking account, but was rejected. Herzog saw it as an example of how centralized organizations can hold power over everyone, even someone like him who is privileged.

That's part of the reason why he throws rocks for open financial systems, not allowed as part of his campaign.

There is a lot of urgency to ensure that Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies have mass adoption and there is a regulatory framework that allows their innovation in New York and in the United States, Mitch Herzog said.

A member of the presidential campaign Andrew Yang and a legal supporter, Herzog is running for Congress in NY-10, including West of Manhattan and South Brooklyn. It was a long time, with the 25-year-old currently watching polls against incumbent Jerry Nadler, who had occupied the seat for 28 years, for the Democratic nomination. The main is scheduled for June 23.

For a politician, Herzog seems to know a lot about Bitcoin, even casually dropping a reference to the recent crypto discount event, once in four years in a weekly interview. this.

Herzog spoke with CoinDesk over the phone from his campaign headquarters near Battery Park Square in lower Manhattan. Looking out his window at the rebuilt One World Trade Center (aka the Freedom Tower), he explained why he thought of Bitcoin through the civil rights framework and why he saw it. The urgent need for common basic income (UBI), a problem signature for Herzog Yang's former boss.

And despite the party affiliation, he has said nothing about the impact of the Bit Biticicense state, written by a Democratic congressman, former director of the Department of Financial Services, Mr. Benjamin Lawsky, in the administration of Governor Andrew Cuomo.

This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

Benjamin Powers: So you worked on the Yang campaign, and now you're running for the office yourself. Tell me more about that trajectory.

Jonathan Herzog: I was running for the convention in District 10 of New York and I am a civil rights organizer and legal advocate. I have spent real time investing in movements against money and politics, against poverty and hatred and most recently joined the founding team of the presidential campaign Andrew Yang, 2020. I joined as a sixth renter, helped Yang get Joe Rogan, helped him qualify for DNC debates and actually made this anonymous entrepreneur a candidate. internet candidate, cryptocurrency candidate, and top candidate for nomination.

The urgency of the problems at that time was huge. Andrew is calling for the fact that we are experiencing the fourth industrial revolution and we have automatically eliminated millions of the most common jobs. He championed a set of solutions such as universal basic income, data dignity, including data bill on data ownership and rights and public finances for elections. I said, god damn it, we have to do everything we can to make sure this guy is our next president. And right now, we are in the middle of this global pandemic, where more than 100,000 Americans have died and one fifth of them are New Yorkers. More than 40 million people are unemployed and 40% of those jobs will not return. I am running because we need to wake up and we need new representatives who have 21st century solutions to these 21st century crises. And we don't have time to delay.

See also: Andrew Yang said current stimulus payments for Aren Americans are fully nested

BP: What do you think about UBI's viability, especially after COVID-19? Should we pursue some form of digital dollar to provide us with the infrastructure to help distribute money to American American quickly in a crisis?

JH: Yes, and yes, in short. But in the long form, what worries me the most is that although at the moment it seems that universal basic income or direct cash relief, at least during a pandemic, seems an inevitable thing. We must, but the reality is that nothing is inevitable. We have entered a new crisis. We can allow tens of millions of people to fall to the side of the road, especially with what happens around police brutality and riots. There is this saying that it is only in times of crisis that ideas that seem politically impossible, can become inevitable. But only if they were brought to the forefront of that time, and for me that's why the work in this particular campaign and building this movement is so important.

If you look at it now, from members of the Trump administration to Republican lawmakers, from the leftmost to the right, there is a feeling that direct cash relief must be part of the solution. . But Congress halted and when they returned to the session, the two bills passed by the House of Representatives included only a very small portion of a trillion-dollar bailout package as in a cash payment for citizens. . Some people have to wait months for processing to go through federal government pipes and to get a paper check mailed to them, if it even reaches them. This crisis only strengthens and accelerates the urgency and demand of universal basic income, but also needs internet money, for a decentralized Bitcoin / crypto solution, supporting blockchain.

Look at the history of governments and society in the context of the recession and historical depreciation of money. In some cases, authoritarian regimes impose restrictions on capital flows and allow repression. There is an urgent urgency to ensure that Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies have mass acceptance and have a regulatory framework that allows their innovation in New York and the United States. If you look at where the mining block was mined, it was mined in China. We need financial resources and federal investment to ensure that we can compete at the scale and scope of this basic arms race.


BP: What kind of regulation or guidelines will you try to reform in a meaningful way when it comes to having a more tolerant framework for cryptocurrencies?

JH: An example is the state of Utah, which has the most supported cryptocurrency framework nationwide. The partnerships that lead to that are exactly the kind we need at the federal level. Because the current regulations are wild West and it is not sustainable. What it leads to is innovation and investment happening abroad and unregulated. I think it is necessary to bring Caitlin Long, Jack Dorsey and the others who have been in trenches to the table at the federal level. Look at the BitLicense example here in New York. Basically, we guarantee that the innovation of cryptocurrencies will run away from world financial capital, which is very backward. And we talk about a city and county where one of the six people before COVID-19 lived in poverty and couldn't meet their basic needs, even though the average income was over $ 90,000, and the profession The most common is working in financial services.

Bitcoin is part and part of civil rights struggles so that banks are not bound and offer a truly decentralized alternative that shows even before COVID-19 nearly half of Americans cannot. Buy a surprise $ 500 invoice. The federal government hasn't even defined a classification principle on how Bitcoin and cryptocurrency should be regulated. And that mismatch certainly doesn't help innovation and invest in an extremely important and increasingly necessary field.

See also: Yang 2020 and Looking for the next crypto candidate

BP: How much is Blockchain possible and the systems it allows as cryptocurrencies as a mainstay of the candidate platform in general?

JH: It is not only feasible, it is also essential. To be honest, I'm a newcomer to the cryptocurrency space. In the context of operations in District 10, it could be an asset. If you look at the numbers in district 10, there are tens of thousands of people here, who are directly involved or interested in cryptocurrencies. And there are certainly political buzzwords and a lining that can be used to disparage it, but that's why I think talking about cryptocurrencies and bitcoin through the lens of the Upper West Side community. , that is civil rights, is important. I consider cryptocurrencies to be part of the vanguard in this era of civil rights and civil liberties. I think it's not just something politically feasible but more and more as more and more people are exposed to the power and importance of cryptocurrencies, they will see it as a necessary part. of any political background.

BP: Can you explain that framing cryptocurrencies in the context of civil rights further?

JH: Absolutely. So, for example, the 10th district has the largest LGBTQ population in the country. I have learned about LGBT tokens as an example of decentralized identity verification, especially in countries where homosexuality and gender deviations are criminalized. What their LGBT wallet provides is an alternative solution to overcome the criminalized crackdown in 70 UN member states that have criminalized themselves as homosexuals. And those penalties can range from the death penalty to the fine, to jail time and life imprisonment.

And the basic approach to capital is the civil rights struggle in this era. Before Martin Luther King, Jr. assassinated, he fought for a guaranteed minimum income, not for some, but for all. And what the LGBT Foundation, for example, did is put HIV self-tests on the blockchain. One of the main health problems is that people don't even know their status, with 2 million people getting infected each year. Blockchain-integrated HIV testing can allow traceability, transparency and scalability. This is just one example of how marginalized and deprived communities, even here in New York City, can move forward. That's part of how we connect the cryptocurrency community with the type of constituency, who may have a specific concept of preconception about the meaning of cryptocurrencies.