It was a relatively brief interaction, but in engaging with SEC Chair Gary Gensler at his Senate Banking Committee hearing last week, Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R, WY) provided an update on her bipartisan Responsible Financial Innovation Act (RFIA) co-sponsored with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D, NY).
Senator Lummis also generated news about the SEC’s crypto disclosure requirements.
View at 1 hour 36 minutes of the video for Thursday’s hearing on oversight of the SEC.
Lummis told SEC Chair Gensler that she and Sen. Gillibrand expect to re-introduce the bill early in the new Congress next year.
In order to meet that deadline, she asked that Chair Gensler and SEC staff work with her and Gillibrand on Section 301 of the bill to understand the necessary disclosures required by digital asset companies.
Throughout the brief interaction, Sen. Lummis made multiple mentions of her Democratic colleague’s involvement appearing to signal to the Democrat Gensler, who was appointed by a Democratic administration, that this isn’t just a Republican initiative.
This morning at Bloomberg’s Crypto Summit in New York City, Senator Cynthia Lummis (R, WY) and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, (D, NY) continued their outreach to the blockchain industry with a 15-minute, recently recorded fireside chat on the Responsible Financial Innovation Act (RFIA) with Bloomberg’s Allyson Versprille. The chat featured familiar talking points as well as a deeper discussion on timelines and attainable milestones for their bill and components of it.
Senator Lummis said specifically that the stablecoin part of the bill could “go through” the Senate Banking Committee on which she sits this year led by Senator Pat Toomey (R, PA).
The total RFIA bill will likely take until and through next year said Senator Lummis. Senator Gillibrand emphasized bi-partisan participation on behalf of Democrats noting Senator Wyden’s (D, OR) participation on tax provisions as well as overall participation by Democrats in the Senate Banking and Agriculture Committees.
Continuing to address RFIA’s momentum, NIST‘s cybersecurity piece could move forward on the Intelligence Committee of which Senator Gillibrand is a member. Gillibrand added that she and Senator Lummis are actively educating Congress on their bill. Senator Lummis emphasized bi-partisan education on Senate Banking as well as keeping Republican leadership informed on timelines. She also said, on the House side, that Maxine Waters (D, CA) and Patrick McHenry (R, NC) are “coalescing” on thoughts related to RFIA.
Like the finest porterhouse steak at Peter Luger’s, Senator Cynthia Lummis (R, WY) and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D, NY) formally delivered to the U.S. Senate yesterday their new, meaty, digital assets legislation titled, “Responsible Financial Innovation Act (RFIA).”
- Full bill (PDF)
- Press release
- Section-by-Section Overview from the Senators (PDF)
- A Medium post from the Senators is here.
Is this steak a history in the making? The blockchain community appeared ravenous and ready to inhale it.
The scope of the bill is sweeping and mostly favors Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) jurisdiction versus the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and therefore applies a commodities classification for many digital assets.
Blockchain Association’s Jake Chervinsky noted in a tweet yesterday that the CFTC leadership role in crypto in the new bill syncs with the House’s Digital Commodity Exchange Act (DCEA) efforts driven by the House Ag Committee and its Ranking Member Glenn Thompson (R, PA). Bi-partisan, bicameral ‘kumbaya’ reigns as Chervinsky pointed out. Similarly, Senator Gillibrand is on the Senate’s Ag Committee, Senator Lummis is on Banking.
From the medium post by Senators Lummis and Gillibrand: “Digital assets that meet the definition of a commodity, such as bitcoin or ether, which comprise more than half of digital asset market capitalization, will be regulated by the CFTC.” This has been never more clearly defined by the a U.S. government entity. But, if you have a security token, fear not, you’ll be in the SEC’s purview.
Overall, this bill sweeps into its pages many of the bills from both sides of Congress – such as the aforementioned DCEA – that have already been introduced including those around stablecoins and crypto tax guidance to name a few.
The one-hour event in front of 150-200 attendees did not disappoint and was highlighted by a new congressional crypto partnership between Senator Cynthia Lummis (R., Wyoming) and Senator Kirsten Gillebrand (D., New York). The senators presented hints on their coming digital assets legislation in a conversation with Politico reporters Sam Sutton and Ben Schreckinger.
Will this be the seminal bill desired by pro-crypto legislators and the blockchain industry? After President Joseph Biden’s crypto Executive Order two weeks ago, momentum is clearly building.
Notably contrasting the partisan rancor typical in the Capital city, the senators appeared synchronized – albeit with the sense that Sen. Gillibrand is still getting up to speed – across a wide-range of far-reaching digital asset talking points. Potential crypto-friendly regulation connected to the complexities of mining, effective use of energy in the crypto world as well as the de minimis $600 tax rule were singled out in addition to maintaining the United States leadership role in innovation.