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Cryptocurrency Seeks to Lure Firearms Companies Amid Threat Banks Will Cut Off Gun Industry

Tom Knighton - Washington Free Beacon  | Published on 2/22/2021

With the looming threat that the financial industry may shut its doors to the gun industry, a Utah man is hoping that his cryptocurrency geared toward purchasing firearms will take off.

Since Democrats took full control of the government last month, a proposed rule that would protect businesses such as the firearms industry has been scuttled, opening the possibility that companies will see their financial services cut off. Rob McNealy, a Second Amendment supporter, created the Universal Settlement Coin (TUSC), a cryptocurrency that focuses on providing the firearms industry with a tool that would allow gun stores and firearm-related manufacturers to provide goods and services completely outside of the banking industry.

Cryptocurrencies are increasingly seen as a viable alternative for purchasing goods. They exist completely outside of the banking system, which allows stores, suppliers, and customers to make transactions that can’t be cut off by banks worried about their reputation, the primary reason given for cutting off services. Earlier this week, Tesla announced it would start accepting Bitcoin, joining such companies as Microsoft, Home Depot, and Starbucks.

McNealy created the currency three years ago in response to Operation Choke Point, an Obama administration policy which increased scrutiny on banks that did business with the firearms industry and caused many to cut ties with the industry completely. Though Operation Choke Point was ended in the first months of the Trump administration, many banks continued to deny services to the firearms industry due to pressure from gun-control activists.

McNealy said gun companies failed to anticipate the bind being cut off from financial services would put them in. "No one thought we'd see the de-platforming we do today," McNealy said.

One impacted company was Spike Tactical, a Florida gun manufacturer that was told by its bank to find services elsewhere and was cut off by e-commerce provider Shopify. Cole Leleux, the company's CEO, said accepting cryptocurrency helps mitigate the threat of future disruptions.

"I’d urge a lot of the gun companies to look at crypto," Leleux said. McNealy says his currency is especially suited for use in brick-and-mortar gun stores due to stable transaction fees and easy transfers.

But cryptocurrency still has a long way to go in becoming the go-to currency for gun transactions. Mark Oliva, director of public affairs at the National Shooting Sports Foundation, said the use of cryptocurrency isn't something his organization is focused on.

"We are focused on eliminating the banking discrimination policies that were allowed to remain in place when the Biden administration ‘paused' the Fair Access banking rule from publication," Oliva told the Free Beacon. He said many gun stores are small businesses that are unduly burdened by such actions.