The United States Congress appears to be pushing for greater regulatory clarity regarding crypto assets, having proposed18 bills concerning blockchain and cryptocurrency during 2021 so far.
According to analysis published by former Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation regulator, Jason Brett, on August 22, the current 117th Congress has broken from its predecessor in focusing on regulating decentralized assets rather than private stablecoins such as Facebook’s Diem project — formerly called Libra.
In July, Congress put forward the Digital Asset Market Structure and Investor Protection Act in a bid to create distinct statutory definitions for digital assets and digital asset securities respectively.
Although the bill is yet to pass through Congress, the legislation would mandate digital asset securities as the jurisdiction of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), while the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) would have the authority to regulate digital assets.
Brett asserts that of Congress’ digital asset bills, The Eliminate Barriers To Innovation Act has made the most progress since being introduced in March. The Act aims to establish a joint working group facilitating collaboration between the SEC and CFTC in regulating the blockchain and crypto sectors.
The legislation has already passed both Congress and the House of Representatives and is now awaiting the Senate according to the report.
However, not all of Congress’ digital asset bills have been well received by the industry, with last-minute amendments made to the bipartisan infrastructure deal in July including a sweeping definition of digital asset “brokers” that threatens to impose stringent counterparty reporting requirements for network validators and software developers.
Zachary Kelman labeled the nebulous language in the infrastructure bill a political shell game whereby lawmakers seek to increase taxes without resorting to specifics regarding the collection.
The bill will now pass to the House of Representatives, where it likely will not be put to a vote until later this year.
Congressman Tom Emmer has been among the most active in the digital asset space, having introduced three bills this year.
Emmer’s proposals included the Blockchain Regulatory Certainty Act — which would provide a safe harbor from money transmitter licensing and registration for blockchain service providers that have no control over tokens.
In July, he also proposed the Security Clarity Act seeking to lessen regulatory burdens for blockchain-based technology and reintroduced the Safe Harbor For Taxpayers With Forked Assets Act in May.