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protect the developers bill
Majority Whip Rep. Tom Emmer (R, MN) is back in the digital assets legislation news with a re-introduction of a bill aimed at ring-fencing blockchain developers and service providers such that they are not required to have money transmitter licenses since they do not custody customer funds. The “Blockchain Regulatory Certainty Act (BCRA)” first appeared in 2018. This bill is co-sponsored by fellow Congressional Blockchain Caucus co-chair Darren Soto (D, FL).
Read the press release: “Emmer Introduces Bill to Provide Regulatory Clarity for the Blockchain Ecosystem”
The bill is similar – with its limited scope – to the “Keep Innovation in America Act” by Rep. Patrick McHenry (R, NC) and Rep. Ritchie Torres (D, NY) earlier this month which seeks to fix a taxation issue around custody providers and the like created by the Jobs Act of 2021.
protect the developers bill – bipartisan
Two notes about the “Blockchain Regulatory Certainty Act (BCRA)” legislation: 1) as noted above, limited scope; and 2) bipartisan. Rather than trying to push something through Congress that’s comprehensive and therefore more time-consuming to develop and find consensus, another strategy for digital assets is to take things piecemeal. Yet, the issues here are a divided Congress and a Senate that doesn’t pass a lot of legislation (regardless of party control) in comparison to the House.
The most news-making part of yesterday’s announcement on the new bill could be this: “Emmer and Soto serve as co-Chairs of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus”- i.e. House bipartisan efforts continue as it relates to blockchain legislation and the Caucus continues does, too (see the 117th Congress’ Caucus).
Tip: Although no formal announcement has been made on Caucus members of the 118th Congress, it’s Democratic membership will be something to watch as the Democratic Biden Administration continues its recent anti-digital assets drumbeat. A bipartisan majority will be needed to push any meaningful legislation through a divided Congress.
top crypto cop
The fight over who’s the biggest, baddest cop on the crypto beat does not belong to anyone at the SEC or CFTC – it’s Southern District of New York’s U.S. Attorney Damian Williams thanks to the Sam Bankman Fried investigation. So says the New Republic in a feature story, “Williams’s office has indicted lower-level crypto offenders—in cases that include an insider trading scheme at Coinbase and a $3 billion Bitcoin theft—but SBF is something more: not just a crypto industry villain but an alleged corporate fraudster whose name has already been added to the cursed pantheon of Bernie Madoff and Ken Lay.” Read more.
Tip: Williams’ future is the most intriguing part of this article as he could become a part of future Democratic administrations.
Former Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chair Chris Giancarlo takes on anti-CBDC (central bank digital currency) forces – who are most often Republican in Congress – in an op-ed on CoinDesk. He writes, “The problem with the ‘just say no’ approach to CBDC is that it acquiesces to the rampant and undue commercial and government surveillance of the existing analog financial system. It does so at a time when the rest of the world is building efficient, networked digital economies that may, if designed right, better protect financial privacy and economic freedom.” Read more.
Tip: Giancarlo is a Republican and on the board of the Digital Dollar Project.
The staff of the Office of Investor Education and Advocacy at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) warned investors about crypto assets yesterday in a release titled, “Exercise Caution with Crypto Asset Securities: Investor Alert.” The alert reiterates the SEC’s investor website devoted to all things crypto asset warnings. See it here. Everything from celebrity endorsements to FOMO to the inadequacies of proof-of-reserves is covered.
Tip: “Exercise Caution with Crypto Asset Securities: Investor Alert” – SEC.gov
policy and events
As regulatory winds swirl, the digital assets industry is being drawn towards DC, the creation of public policy – and events. Yesterday, industry publication Blockworks and Blockchain Association announced a new partnership on their Digital Assets Summit from March 18-20, 2024. Around the same time next year, Chamber of Digital Commerce is planning their annual DC Blockchain Summit. And next month’s Consensus 2023 conference in Austin, Texas has an entire day dedicated to its Crypto Policy Summit on Friday, April 28.
treasury’s digital currency paper
Just in time for the latest banking crisis, the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Financial Research blog touts a new research paper titled, “Digital Currency and Banking-Sector Stability.” The findings of academics Gregory Phelan and William Chen “suggest that financial frictions may limit the potential benefits of digital currencies, whether issued publicly as a central bank digital currency (CBDC) or privately as stablecoins.” And yet, all is not lost as they zoom out. Sure… there’s a potential for a banking crisis as current banking models are disrupted, but “household welfare can improve” and “system volatility decreases.” Read the blog post.
Tip: Digital Currency and Banking-Sector Stability – Working Paper (PDF)
- States challenge Washington over the future of money – Politico’s Digital Future Daily
- Did The Government Start A Global Financial Crisis In An Attempt To Destroy Crypto? – Pirate Wires
- Kraken to suspend Plaid withdrawals and deposits via ACH Silvergate – CoinTelegraph
- Police: Crypto firm founder Do Kwon arrested in Montenegro – ABC News
- Opinion: Beware the ‘sensible’ crypto crowd – they’re worse than the fanatics – Financial Times
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