Rep. Larry Bucshon On Congress And Ensuring U.S. Leadership On-Chain

Rep. Larry Bucshon

When the 118th Congress started last year, blockchain-related legislation was focused on digital assets and financial industry applications – i.e. crypto. Yet, slowly but surely, legislation related to the blockchain emerged on the House Energy and Commerce (E&C) Committee with special focus on how the technology can provide unique opportunity to American business and its supply chains.

Among those leading the E&C charge has been Rep. Larry Bucshon (R, IN), who recently announced his retirement after 14 years in Congress.

Congressman Bucshon introduced a supply chain resiliency bill at a September Energy & Commerce hearing which would establish the “National Blockchain Promotion and Deployment Program” at the Department of Commerce.

Post-hearing, two bipartisan bills came about with co-sponsor Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D, DE):

    • Deploying American Blockchains Act [H.R. 6572]” – “To direct the Secretary of Commerce to take actions necessary and appropriate to promote the competitiveness of the United States related to the deployment, use, application, and competitiveness of blockchain technology or other distributed ledger technology, and for other purposes.”
    • Promoting Resilient Supply Chains Act [H.R. 6571]” – “To establish a critical supply chain resiliency and crisis response program in the Department of Commerce, and to secure American leadership in deploying emerging technologies, and for other purposes.”

The bills passed unanimously passed during a December E&C markup which sent them to the House floor for a still-pending vote.

Rep. Bucshon spoke with blockchain tipsheet today at the Capitol to discuss his views on blockchain technology, legislation and Congress.

Topics included:

    • Congress today
    • E&C technology policy
    • Two blockchain bills
    • House floor vote possibilities
    • Bipartisanship and divided government
    • Educating Members
    • Importance of Congressional staff
    • The role of Industry
    • Senate and making law

The interview has been lightly edited for clarity. Continue reading “Rep. Larry Bucshon On Congress And Ensuring U.S. Leadership On-Chain”

Interview: Rep. Wiley Nickel Sees ‘Big Impact’ Ahead With Digital Assets

Rep. Wiley Nickel

With his first year in Congress complete and his last year ahead (he’s running for Senate in 2026), Rep. Wiley Nickel (D, NC) has been a consistent supporter of potentially transformative bills from the House Financial Services (HFS) Committee, which he joined at the beginning of the 118th Congress.

The digital asset market structure bill known as “Financial Innovation and Technology for the 21st Century Act” [H.R. 4763], included early support from Rep. Nickel where he eventually voted with five Democrats and all of the Committee’s Republicans to support the bill during a July HFS markup.

In another July HFS markup, Rep. Nickel was one of 5 Democrats – along with  the majority Republicans – who supported a long-awaited stablecoin bill, “Clarity for Payment Stablecoins Act of 2023” [H.R. 4766]. Both bills now move to the House Floor for a vote.

Rep. Nickel spoke with blockchain tipsheet in Washington D.C. this week to discuss Congress and digital assets including:

    • Learnings during his first year
    • The Bitcoin ETFs and regulators
    • Partisanship and the Democratic Party
    • Anti-Money Laundering
    • His constituency and digital assets
    • Stablecoin and market structure bills
    • The importance of Congressional staff
    • 2026 Senate run, his platform and digital assets

The interview has been lightly edited for clarity.

blockchain tipsheet: What’s surprised you the most in your first year of Congress?

Rep. Wiley Nickel: It’s been a great first year in Congress. The surprise for me has just been how much I like the people I serve with – the absolutely amazing people that you don’t really hear about. They’re not the people on the far left or the far right. They are people who care about their country, they are working hard – in my experience – behind the scenes and it’s very different from what the public sees. I think there are a lot of people that that are very serious about trying to work together. And I think the Financial Services Committee is one of the few committees that’s really going to move some good bipartisan bills through the House and signed into law. Continue reading “Interview: Rep. Wiley Nickel Sees ‘Big Impact’ Ahead With Digital Assets”

Majority Whip Tom Emmer Discusses The State Of Digital Assets In Congress Today

Majority Whip Tom Emmer

With a holiday recess approaching in the U.S. House of Representatives, Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R, MN) is still making the most of the 2023 Congressional calendar while preparing for next year.

He knows the drill.

Emmer, who has been a key advocate for digital assets legislation, first joined Congress in 2015 and served as Chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee in the 116th Congress and 117th Congress. He currently sits on the House Financial Services Committee.

Digital assets legislation he has sponsored in the current Congress includes Blockchain Regulatory Certainty Act [H.R. 1747], CBDC Anti-Surveillance State Act [H.R. 5403] and Securities Clarity Act [H.R. 3572].

Whip Emmer sat down with blockchain tipsheet at the Capitol on Tuesday to discuss the state of digital assets including:

    • 2023 digital asset highlights
    • Member education on digital assets
    • Congressional staff and legislation
    • Looking ahead
    • Crypto, AML and terrorist financing legislation
    • CBDCs
    • National security

The interview has been lightly edited for clarity.

What are your highlights for 2023 when it comes to digital assets?

Majority Whip Emmer: I had high hopes coming into the 118th Congress because of our new [House Financial Services] Chairman. Patrick McHenry (R, NC) is someone who understands the digital asset space.

Patrick and I have been close since I came to Congress -he was assigned to me as my mentor when I got here… I was excited because I know that this was a passion of his. I was also excited because even though we’ve had a fight it seems with the White House under the last Administration and now under this Administration, and with some certain Senators – and some in the House but not quite as much. Republicans and Democrats in the House are learning very quickly about the space.

So, highlights of this year are watching Republicans and Democrats on the House Financial Services Committee literally collaborate on digital assets issues. We may not see it in the actual committee votes, but it’s happening with French Hill (R, AR), with Patrick McHenry, Richie Torres (D, NY) and Josh Gottheimer (D, NJ), Jim Himes (D, CT) – Himes has been very helpful – and Greg Meeks (D, NY). You could keep going on.

We passed a CBDC bill out of committee to outlaw central bank digital currencies, which is something that I’m adamant about. We’ve gotten a lot of support for it. And then Patrick McHenry managed to set us up for market structure and, potentially, stablecoin legislation. And there could be others on the way, but that’s just this year.

For the first time since I arrived in Congress eight years ago, we have some very consequential things in the space that are moving forward. Continue reading “Majority Whip Tom Emmer Discusses The State Of Digital Assets In Congress Today”

Congress and Industry Attempt Reset After FTX Debacle

FTX and Congress

FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried would appear to not have any friends left in Washington, D.C. after his company’s implosion earlier this week.

Members of Congress and industry trade organizations are trying to build a protective wall around legislation still in its embryonic stages – such as the Digital Commodity Consumer Protection Act (DCCPA) – while distancing themselves from any perceived influence Bankman-Fried had on the process.

Meanwhile, Bankman-Fried’s global company has had its assets frozen by authorities in the Bahamas where FTX global operations are based. And, it appears that FTX’s US operations are also under pressure with perhaps only enough money for another week of payroll for employees according to Bloomberg. Customers are being asked to remove their assets from the US-based exchange with assurances around the exchange’s liquidity in the interim. (Update: Bankman-Fried has resigned and his company has declared bankruptcy. Read more.)

And last but not least, the SEC and CFTC are rumored to be starting investigations. Could it get any uglier?

Senate speaks

Back in Congress, leaders from the Senate Agricultural Committee expressed urgency and made clear that their still-in-committee DCCPA is alive and well despite FTX’s fall from grace.

Chairwoman and Senator Debbie Stabenow (D, MI) tweeted: “The recent collapse of a major cryptocurrency exchange reinforces the urgent need for greater federal oversight of this industry. Consumers continue to be harmed by the lack of transparency and accountability in this market. It is time for Congress to act.”

Continue reading “Congress and Industry Attempt Reset After FTX Debacle”

Letters on the Edge of Regulation

Letters from Congress

When it comes to disagreements over crypto and its regulation, DC policymakers have consistently chosen the humble “letter” as an impactful device.

Often signaling a disagreement of some sort between the sender and the receiver, a Congressional letter is like publishing a press release, but with more personalization and a purposeful lack of discretion.

With 4 months still remaining in the calendar year, 2022 has gotten off to a prodigious start among DC letter writers with crypto on their minds. Here is a sample of what we’ve seen thus far in reverse chronological order:

August 23, 2022
From: Rep. Tom Emmer (R, MN)
To: US Treasury
Subject: DeFi application Tornado Cash

Rep. Tom Emmer wrote in an open letter to the U.S. Treasury Department and Secretary Janet Yellen, an appointee of Democratic President Joseph Biden and member of his Cabinet, requesting clarifications about the sanctioning of mixing service Tornado Cash on August 8. A “senior official” summarized Treasury’s case in a quote for The Wall Street Journal: “Mixers are basically an automated money-laundering service.”

Effectively, The Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) under the auspices of Treasury had for the first time ever sanctioned code rather than a person or entity. Emmer’s letter identified 7 questions for which he wanted answers including guidance on how OFAC determines that a wallet address might be sanctioned. The congressman’s pithy conclusion offered that the decentralized Tornado Cash mixer may have been used for illicit services, “Nonetheless, technology is neutral and privacy is normal.”

The four-page letter signed by Rep. Emmer was released in a tweet. The Congressman is co-Chair of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus, a U.S. House Financial Services committee member and Ranking Member of its Task Force on Financial Technology,

Continue reading “Letters on the Edge of Regulation”

Stablecoin Debacle Speaks To Potential For Congressional Action


Clearly not all stablecoins are stable as crypto experienced a major liquidation moment this past week. How this will affect blockchain regulation in DC remains to be seen, but there is opportunity.

To recap, the stablecoin known as TerraUSD (a.k.a UST -its ticker) went down 90+% and the governance token associated with its peg – Terra LUNA – cratered a similar percentage. Together, the size of the loss is reminiscent of Lehman Brothers and its bankruptcy during the Great Financial Crisis in 2008.

Market cap comparison:

    • Lehman Brothers – $60 billion at its peak in 2007.  Filed for bankruptcy and effectively went to zero in late 2008.
    • TerraUSD – $18.6 billion market cap as of May 8, 2022. Approximately $2 billion as of today according to CoinMarketCap.
    • Terra LUNA – The backing governance token for TerraUSD reached a peak market cap of $41.05 billion as of April 3, 2022. Today, it’s $1.8 billion.

It should be noted that the remaining value for TerraUSD and Terra LUNA could be fleeting as traders try to play an arbitrage opportunity. But, overall the future of both appears bleak.

For now, the promise of providing stability in volatile crypto markets with stablecoins appears to be damaged. False advertising? How will government policymakers react?

Continue reading “Stablecoin Debacle Speaks To Potential For Congressional Action”

Digital Wallets and Financial Inclusion Reviewed by CRS

Digital Wallets

In a report from the non-partisan Congressional Research Service published on Monday, Congress gets a look at the digital wallet landscape as lawmakers consider the implications ranging from anti-money laundering (AML) laws to consumer privacy.

Titled “Digital Wallets and Selected Policy Issues” (PDF here), CRS analysts Paul Tierno and Andrew Scott outline the three types of cryptocurrency wallets beginning with custodial wallets which “execute digital asset transactions on the account holder’s behalf and log them on the custodian’s books (or ‘offchain’) rather than on the distributed ledger blockchain of the coin.”

What are likely of more interest to lawmakers are the other two options: non-custodial wallets and cold-storage wallets which offer more privacy and are perceived to be harder to track by authorities concerned about criminal enterprises whether by individuals, groups or nation states.

Policy considerations for Congress according to CRS: Continue reading “Digital Wallets and Financial Inclusion Reviewed by CRS”