Congress Talks Digital Assets Legislation At Policy Summit; Treasury’s Power Grab Turns Heads

Quotes of the day

Today’s edition of blockchain tipsheet includes a selection of quotes from Members of Congress at yesterday’s Blockchain Association Policy Summit.

Rep. Ritchie Torres (D, NY) discussed next, possible steps for digital assets legislation: “In my view, the courts cannot provide you with the kind of comprehensive regulatory framework that you would need – only a statute can. But the courts can prompt legislative action. If either the Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court were to uphold the decision in the Ripple case, then that could create a powerful incentive for Congress to step in and to legislate a regulatory framework. But there needs to be a judicial rejection of ‘The Gensler Doctrine’ in order to prompt Congress to act legislatively -that’s my assessment of where the politics lies at the moment.”

Reacting to the Policy Summit’s featured keynote the day before – U.S. Treasury Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo (D) -, House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R, MN) shared his thoughts yesterday on Treasury’s request for power over crypto: “Beware of the self proclaimed savior that rides in on the white horse and tells you, ‘I’m here to protect you.’”

Rep. Jim Himes (D, CT) says digital assets needs a better use case to help with legislative prospects: “Until the industry does a better job really showing that ‘we can take remittance fees down from 8% to two basis points,’ or show us any positive, world-improving application – the industry is not going to have the benefit of the doubt. The reason you need that is because – not so much on our side of the Capitol (House) – but on the other side of the Capitol (Senate), the ‘weather’ is uglier and people just need to start hearing about how this stuff is gonna make people’s lives better.”

And, New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) Superintendent Adrienne Harris (D) spoke to crypto’s challenges from the state purview: “… the two areas where the crypto and digital asset space continues to falter the most are around illicit finance and cybersecurity. That’s where we see the compliance apparatus really being its most immature. And we continue to work with companies through supervision, our exams and enforcement to make sure that those areas get up to snuff very quickly.”

more tips:

Republicans’ Leadership Squabbles Delayed U.S. Crypto Bills Until 2024, Key Lawmakers Say – CoinDesk

SEC’s Hester Peirce doesn’t know what her agency is trying to accomplish – Blockworks

NDAA in Senate

The NDAA crypto anti-money laundering (AML) amendment is still kicking in the Senate. Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R, WY) tells Politico, “The fear is that you’ll put together a product, introduce it as a piece of legislation, and start getting attacked by the administration… And with a 50-50 Senate, we can’t afford to have subjects that are really non-partisan begin to take on a ‘skins versus shirts’ tone.” Read more.

At Policy Summit, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D, NY) – in a fireside discussion that included Senator Lummis – expanded on the NDAA amendment’s prospects saying, “I don’t know if it’ll last through conference and whether it’ll be in the final bill, but we’re hopeful it is. And it addresses tumblers, illicit financing and terrorist financing and requires not only a [regulatory] study but also recommendations. [And that represents] common ground for all people interested in crypto.”

Senators on stablecoin bill

Also at Policy Summit, Sens. Gillibrand and Lummis  offered some color on their support for a stablecoin bill which includes states rights along with federal oversight.

The two Senators are unique in that there are few in the Senate who speak publicly about supporting digital assets innovation – let alone the duo have their own digital asset market structure legislation: the Lummis-Gillibrand Responsible Financial Innovation Act (RFIA).

Sen. Gillibrand saw momentum coming from states on stablecoin regulation even without initiatives at the federal level, but remained resolute about a federal solution: “I’m sure the states will try to regulate themselves because that’s what they do. But our decision point is when a state wants to issue a stablecoin, what structure do they have to have around it to make sure they have consumer safety, cybersecurity, safety and soundness? We know we have it in our states (New York and Wyoming). [But,] there may be other states that have never done this before. We want to make sure that if they do set up a DFAs (digital financial assets) type of organization that they do it well because we want to protect consumers – that’s the first concern. Everyone is happy with issuance by banks – both state and federal banks – absolutely happy with that. That’s definitely common ground.”

Gillibrand continued, “The question is other state regulatory agencies and how robust they need to be to have this authority. And I think Cynthia and I have worked in a very positive way towards what that should look like.”

Sen. Lummis adding her thoughts referenced RFIA, “And we – very much – in our bill protected the dual banking system with regard to the issuance of stablecoin. That was a big priority.”

Treasury on crypto – reaction

Industry crypto education organization, Coin Center, came out with a quick take on Treasury’s recent request for more jurisdiction over digital assets. Read the blog post titled: “In an effort to close perceived loopholes, Treasury recommends massive expansion of warrantless surveillance and power to sanction open-source software” by Landon Zinda of CoinCenter.

new co-sponsors

Senator Raphael Warnock (D, GA) signed on a co-sponsor of Senator Elizabeth Warren’s (D, MA) “Digital Asset Anti-Money Laundering Act” [S.2669]. There are now 16 co-sponsors according to

Rep. Michelle Fischbach (R, MN) signed on as a co-sponsor of Majority Whip Tom Emmer’s (R, MN) “CBDC Anti-Surveillance State Act” [H.R.5403]. There are now 73 co-sponsors according to

still more tips

Circle denies alleged ties to Justin Sun and Hamas in letter to lawmakers – Blockworks

Singapore Central Banker Sees Private Crypto on Its Way Out – Bloomberg

Binance Begins Again With U.S. Oversight. Will It Survive? – The Wall Street Journal

Is GameFi Dead? 3 in 4 Projects Have Failed – Coingecko