Drama in U.S. Congress over Speaker of the House leaves crypto legislation on pause

By Sarah Wynn. (The Block). October 12, 2023.

The race between Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., and Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, is tight, as House Republicans gather on Thursday to see if there could be enough votes for Scalise. 

Prospects for a more permanent U.S. House speaker are not looking up, which could kick cryptocurrency legislation further down the road.

The race between Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., and Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, is tight, as House Republicans gather on Thursday to see if there could be enough votes for Scalise. 

“The general consensus from many folks that we’re talking to is that this does not seem like it’s going to get solved this week,” said Ron Hammond, director of government relations at the Blockchain Association. 

Read the full story from The Block here: “Drama in U.S. Congress over Speaker of the House leaves crypto legislation on pause.”

Crypto Needs Congress, But U.S. Lawmakers Have Opted for Pandemonium

By Jesse Hamilton. (CoinDesk). October 9, 2023.

Without the U.S. Congress outlining a clear system of rules, the crypto industry fears it’ll be relegated as a volatile financial backwater. But Capitol Hill is beset by drama, including a U.S. House of Representatives that fired its speaker and a budget debate that could derail the federal government.

Two crypto bills are carrying a lot of the sector’s hopes, because they’ve made it further than any legislation to date: one House bill that would establish rules for digital assets markets and another that would set up regulations for issuing and trading stablecoins in the U.S. Until now, Crypto lobbyists thought that both pieces of legislation had a shot to reach the House floor in November.

The problems: Nov. 17 is the new deadline for a government shutdown, unless Congress can agree to a spending plan it wasn’t able to execute last month. And one of the top voices in that negotiation is the speaker of the House. Republicans dumped the speaker, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), in an unprecedented fashion and are yet to pick a new one.

Read the full piece from CoinDesk here: “Crypto Needs Congress, But U.S. Lawmakers Have Opted for Pandemonium.”

Regulators Increase Their Power Over Crypto But With Little To Show For It

By Ike Brannon. October 26, 2022. (Forbes).

Federal regulators are notorious for bogging down industries and stifling economic growth with myriad regulations, which is why most industries are loath to ask Congress to enact more regulations. Yet, that’s precisely what cryptocurrency companies and investors alike are asking for.

The fact that Congress has yet to consider any crypto-specific legislation has left regulators to their own devices, to which they have responded by adopting a strategy of regulation through enforcement: Instead of prescribing what is and is not possible in this space they merely react to the actions of market participants and then determine whether what they did is, in fact, allowable.

While such ex post regulations are easier for regulators, it leaves us with a market in which those that innovate in this market risk being subject to retroactive punishment and ruinous lawsuits.

Read the full article here.

Waging War on Cryptocurrency Would Be a Mistake for Democrats

By Former Rep. Albert Wynn (D-MD). November 30, 2021. (Bloomberg Law).

When innovation brings change to an industry, the government’s role is to observe first and then manage the change as necessary. The government should not be an obstacle to progress. The Democratic Party has long been a champion of inclusionary innovation, smoothing the disruption to families and workers while spreading the benefits as widely as possible throughout the economy.

I fear, however, that with the fintech revolution rising through decentralized finance and blockchain technology, some in our party are mobilizing for a war on cryptocurrencies that could be futile and economically costly to the country.

There is wide agreement that regulation is needed for digital assets. There must be strict protections against money laundering and fraud in coin offerings and the financial products emerging in this $2 trillion asset space.

Read the Full Article Here.

Congress Needs To Provide Guardrails for the Cryptocurrency Revolution

By Josh Hammer, Opinion Editor. October 21, 2021. (Newsweek).

The Chinese Communist Party poses the most comprehensive 21st-century threat to the American nation, the American people and the American way of life. The first half of this century will be defined by how the U.S. meets the Chinese challenge across the full spectrum of economic, national security, geopolitical and cultural issues. And an easily neglected aspect of our new great-power competition with our Far East arch-foe now cries out for diligent and prompt attention: safeguarding the fruits of the nascent, but ascendant, cryptocurrency revolution.

Last month, China effectively banned all cryptocurrency trading and mining, which the Communist Party increasingly views as a threat to its planned “digital yuan” sovereign digital currency, which may be released as early as 2022. The People’s Bank of China, the Chinese central bank and Federal Reserve equivalent, barred international exchanges from providing cryptocurrency services to Chinese investors and speculators. It also banned financial institutions and digital exchanges from facilitating domestic crypto transactions.

Read the Full Article Here.

Congress needs to step up on crypto, or Biden might crush it

By Former Rep. George Nethercutt (R-Wash.). October 16, 2021. (The Hill).

Recent developments both domestically and abroad have finally catalyzed the Biden administration to take the long-delayed step of engaging on the many regulatory issues surrounding cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.

One of the most promising economic innovations since the internet, the market cap of cryptocurrencies is now over $2 trillion and there is a growing consensus that the technology is here to stay. What the industry needs — and the American economy would benefit from most — is a partner to help develop a comprehensive regulatory framework that would cement our country’s role as the leader in this emerging field.

Unfortunately, the Treasury Department has decided to eschew such collaboration and go in a different direction. They are instead leading a closed-door effort with the Biden-appointed heads of financial regulatory agencies to draft recommendations on how the administration should crack down on digital assets.

Read the Full Article Here.

Crypto lobby groups say they’re fighting ‘unworkable’ crypto reporting language in infrastructure bill

By Michael McSweeney. July 29, 2021. (The Block Crypto).

Crypto-related language said to be contained in a still-in-flux bipartisan infrastructure spending bill has spurred activity lobby groups in Washington, D.C. 

On Thursday, the Blockchain Association derided the proposed spending package as one that “threatens crypto innovation.” As previously reported, one of the bills “pay-fors” is tightened tax reporting requirements for crypto companies, which are estimated to raise some $28 billion to be used to fund infrastructure projects over a period of years.

But the controversy centers around which types of crypto companies would be considered “brokers” under the proposed changes, based on drafted language obtained this week by CoinDesk’s Nik De. The prevailing concern is that miners, decentralized finance startups and others not involved in the actual brokerage of digital assets will be hit with overly heightened compliance burdens. According to a fact sheet reviewed by The Block, the language “[updates] the definition of broker to reflect the realities of how digital assets are acquired and traded.”

Read the Full Article Here.

With Washington recommitted to innovation, cryptocurrencies need a congressional fix

By Former Rep. George Nethercutt. June 20, 2021. (The Hill).

Congress just achieved a rare bipartisan feat in passing the “Endless Frontier Act” through the Senate. This bold legislative package recommits the U.S. to technological innovation and global leadership in the race against Chinese domination. At the very least, Republicans and Democrats understand that the U.S. must do more to win this fight. However, unless the Biden administration and Congress change their current attention deficit on cryptocurrencies, America’s efforts may be in vain.

Beneath the headlines and outside of the halls of Congress, federal bureaucrats are actively circumventing Congress and using the courts to regulate the U.S. cryptocurrency industry. The total lack of regulatory clarity in the Securities Act is the main culprit and consensus is building. This is especially evident to observers of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) December 2020 lawsuit against San Francisco-based enterprise software company Ripple over its distribution of the cryptocurrency XRP.

Read the Full Article Here.

“Cryptocurrencies can help solve economic injustice. Democrats shouldn’t fear them”

By Sheila Warren and Michael Casey. May 28, 2021. (Roll Call).

When Joe Biden won the presidential election, he pledged immediately to begin working on behalf of the voiceless and the underserved: by rebuilding the middle class, heeding science to end the global pandemic and creating lasting recovery that delivers racial and social justice.

Now, with Biden in office and key appointments filled, Democrats have a chance to fulfill those promises. Cryptocurrencies and the revolutionary technology powering them present an unprecedented opportunity to help do so. 

Read the Full Article Here.

NOTE: Sheila Warren is the deputy head of the World Economic Forum’s Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution and a member of the forum’s Executive Committee. Michael J. Casey is the chief content officer for CoinDesk, a cryptocurrency news site, and a former columnist for The Wall Street Journal. Warren and Casey co-host CoinDesk’s Money Reimagined podcast.  

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