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Blockchain Legislation Approved by US House Committee

Blockchain Bills Progress in U.S. Legislation

Blockchain legislation has taken a significant step forward with the U.S. House Financial Services Committee’s approval of focused cryptocurrency bills.

Following an extensive markup session, the committee passed H.R. 4763, the Financial Innovation and Technology for the 21st Century Act, and H.R. 1747, the Blockchain Regulatory Certainty Act. These bills are designed to establish a comprehensive legal framework for cryptocurrencies and specifically address blockchain-related issues.

Concerns were voiced by both Republicans and Democrats about the market structure bill, particularly regarding increased powers to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and potential weakening of consumer protections. However, committee chair Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) emphasized the need for such legislation to keep the U.S. competitive in regulating crypto and avoid lagging behind other countries.

“Our comprehensive digital asset market structure legislation recognizes a key issue: digital assets that are not inherently securities may be offered as part of an investment contract but that does not make them securities,” he stated during his comments.

The bills will now move to a vote in the full House of Representatives.

Republican Congressman French Hill, Vice-Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, expressed pride in the successful passage of the bill’s initial stage, highlighting the bipartisan support it garnered within the committee.

“We have crafted landmark legislation that establishes robust consumer protections and clear rules of the road for market participants while fostering innovation in the United States.”

Additionally, the “Blockchain Regulatory Certainty Act,” a bipartisan effort led by Republican Congressman Tom Emmer and Democratic Congressman Darren Soto, aims to provide clear guidelines that eliminate obstacles and unnecessary requirements for “blockchain developers and service providers,” including miners, multi-signature service providers, and decentralized finance (DeFi) platforms.

Republican Representative Tom Emmer celebrated the approval of the Blockchain Regulatory Certainty Act as a significant victory for the United States.

While crypto companies initially operated in a regulatory grey area, the SEC has gradually asserted control over the industry, claiming that most cryptocurrencies are securities and subject to investor protection regulations. The SEC’s efforts intensified recently with lawsuits against Coinbase and Binance, accusing them of not registering certain crypto tokens. Both exchanges have denied the allegations.

Many crypto companies dispute the SEC’s authority and have been urging Congress to pass laws clarifying that cryptocurrencies should be treated as commodities rather than securities.

Lawmakers are also considering a bill that would task the Federal Reserve with setting requirements for issuing stablecoins while maintaining state regulators’ authority.

The bill was modified to address concerns raised by some Democrats, including Waters, who worried that stablecoin issuers might avoid stringent oversight by choosing to be regulated under state regimes.

Rep. McHenry expressed hope for reaching an agreement with Rep. Waters on the bill, but he also emphasized that a federal stablecoin framework is not necessarily crucial, given the existing state regulatory frameworks in place.

These developments mark significant strides in the regulatory landscape in the United States, especially considering the current stance of the SEC and the ongoing discussions around cryptocurrency ETFs.

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