For two years, the cryptocurrency world has been waiting to see how the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) would implement the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Put simply, this law established new reporting requirements that risked setting a de facto ban on cryptocurrency mining and exposing millions of Americans to new felony crimes. The good news is that the IRS’s nearly 300-page proposal is not quite as bad as it could have been under the law. However, that is far from saying it is good policy.

As citizens, companies, and consultants finish crafting their comment letters ahead of the October 30 response deadline, it’s important to take a step back and recognize why businesses should not be required to report customers to the government by default.

Recalling back to 2021, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act was about building roads, bridges, and the like — it was not about cryptocurrency or financial reporting. It wasn’t until funding was desperately needed to offset spending that members of Congress slipped in two provisions to increase financial surveillance over cryptocurrency users. Their argument was that increasing surveillance would increase tax revenue, effectively accusing cryptocurrency users of tax evasion.