Farm Bill Collides With Crypto Interests; Prometheum Poaches TradFi Executive

Senate Dems accused

In an ironic twist on X last Friday, Rep. Brad Feinstad (R, MN), a member of the House Agriculture Committee, appeared to accuse Senate Agriculture Chair Debbie Stabenow (D, MI) of paying too much attention to crypto legislation.

Feinstad tweeted, “Senate Dems have made their priorities clear. They would rather kick the can down the road on the Farm Bill and focus on crypto. The farmers and rural communities I represent in #MN01 understand the importance of a Farm Bill reauthorization & I will continue fighting for them.”

Before last week’s news of Chair Stabenow’s renewed interest in crypto, it would have been unthinkable to say any Senate Dem was interested in crypto legislation other than Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D, NY).

Rep. Feinstad hails from the southern Minnesota “01” district and is on House Ag. He presumably took part of in the House Ag markup on the digital asset market structure bill [H.R.4763] which was moved forward by voice vote last July.

“FIT 21” – as the bill is known – may now be in the hands of Chair Stabenow given her role on Senate Ag.

Meanwhile, House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R, MN) represents the nearby, central Minnesota “06” district. Whip Emmer is one of crypto’s strongest advocates in Congress and sits on House Financial Services.

Too early to say if Feinstad is showing a rift in the House Republican caucus regarding digital assets, but it’s something to keep an eye on.

crypto securities hiring

Crypto asset securities broker-dealer Prometheum announced the hiring of Albert Meo as CFO yesterday. He’s formerly an executive at Morgan Stanley and will now oversee Prometheum’s “financial: planning, reporting, and liquidity risk management,” according to the press release. Read it.

Prometheum became the subject of inquiry and consternation among Republicans last year -such as Senator Tommy Tuberville (AL) who expressed strong reservations about the company’s alleged ties to the Chinese Communist Party last July.

Also, at last June’s House Financial Services hearing, the company’s Special Purpose Broker-Dealer license for crypto asset securities came under scrutiny for – among other things – the timing of the license in coordination with the SEC’s crackdown on crypto. Similar to SEC Chair Gary Gensler in front of House Financial Services (April 2023), Prometheum’s Aaron Kaplan had difficulty (June 2023) identifying exactly which crypto tokens were a security and why.

CoinDesk’s Jesse Hamilton brings a critical eye to the hiring announcement and writes, “Prometheum’s founders started the company under the assumption that it’s possible and correct to follow the SEC’s commandments and treat crypto as securities.” Read more.

CFTC committee meeting

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission Commissioner (CFTC) Caroline Pham announced the agenda for her Global Markets Advisory Committee meeting tomorrow. Read the release.

45 minutes of the meeting is devoted to the publication of a “Digital Asset Taxonomy” deliverable which is overseen by the Digital Asset Markets Subcommittee comprised of executives from  BNY Mellon, BCG and Global Blockchain Business Council among others. See the agenda.

emergency averted

Last Friday, the Department of Energy (DOE) decided the “emergency” survey of crypto miners was no longer warranted. In an agreement brokered through the Courts, the DOE, the Texas Blockchain Council and Riot Platforms came to an 8-page agreement which read in part: “Defendants (DOE) agree that EIA will publish in the Federal Register a new notice of a proposed collection of information (“New Federal Register Notice”) that will withdraw and replace the February 9 Notice.” The survey was over before it barely began.  Read the agreement (PDF) filed on 3/1.

emergency averted – reaction

After the announcement about the agreement, Congress reacted.

Wyoming Senator Cynthia Lummis (R) said on X about the decision, “The Department of Energy officially withdrew its crypto mining usage survey today, a win for crypto mining and the entire crypto asset community. I will continue to fight back against this blatant government overreach to ensure crypto is not unfairly targeted by the Biden admin.”

House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R, MN) added on X, “The OMB cannot abuse its ’emergency’ authorities to allow agencies like the EIA to ridiculously claim bitcoin miners are a threat to public safety and subject this industry to new, unvetted rules and regulations. It’s an abuse of power and it ends here.”

M-T-D revenge

The amicus briefs continued to pile up in support of cryptocurrency platform Kraken regarding the complaint brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) against the company.

As of publication, there were six (6) total including a new brief filed by 8 Republican State Attorneys General.  The Attorneys General begin their argument in the brief saying, “The SEC’s Enforcement Action Exceeds Its Delegated Powers.” See the brief.

Kraken accuses the SEC of revenge-of-sorts saying that on “May 10, 2023, Kraken testified about the SEC’s overreach in crypto before both the House Financial Services Committee and the House Agriculture Committee.” Later in the post: “Kraken testified that in any new set of crypto exchange rules, Congress should limit the SEC’s jurisdiction in favor of other agencies. The next day, the SEC called Kraken to say it was going to sue.” Read Kraken’s Feb. 22 blog post.

what you should know: The May 10 hearing was the historic dual Committee hearing of House Agriculture and House Financial Services for the digital asset market structure bill or “FIT 21” [H.R.4763]. Kraken was a witness. Read blockchain tipsheet’s coverage of the day.


Blockchain Association policy executive Ron Hammond provided a weekly update on DC and crypto in a tweet thread on X yesterday. He sees the State of the Union speech as, potentially, impactful: “President Biden will deliver the State of the Union on Thursday and some initial reports indicate AI and tech policy will be mentioned. Unclear if that means crypto as well (especially with the bull run grabbing headlines), but emerging tech issues will be something to watch.” Read more.

still more tips

Bitcoin tops $67,000 as it nears 2021 all-time high – CNBC

Is it too soon to name BlackRock the bitcoin ETF segment winner? – Blockworks

“Shomari Figures, a former deputy chief of staff to Attorney General Merrick Garland, has caught the attention of Protect Progress, a pro-crypto super PAC that has spent more than $1.7 million in support of him.” – Politico’s Morning Money