Dual Committee Hearing Yields Historic Theater And Another Dose Of Reality

Yadira Caraveo

In an historic joint hearing in the U.S. House of Representatives, digital assets and its market structure impressively took center stage.

Titled “Joint Financial Services-Agriculture Subcommittee Hearing Entitled: The Future of Digital Assets: Measuring the Regulatory Gaps in the Digital Asset Markets,” the two digital assets subcommittees convened at the Longworth House Office Building. More here.

When all was said and done, the fact two House Congressional subcommittees met for over 3 hours on digital assets was the victory for pro-crypto forces as bipartisan interest in crypto is – at best – shared behind closed doors.

Beginning with a sanguine opening statement by House Agriculture Digital Assets Subcommittee Chair Rep. Dusty Johnson (R, SD), a skeptical Democratic point-of-view was expressed by Ranking Member Rep. Yadira Caraveo (D, CO). on digital assets. It was a familiar political cadence for much of the day and since the FTX implosion…

interest in legislation

Chair Rep. French Hill (R, AR) of House Financial Services (HFS) Subcommittee on Digital Assets, Financial Technology and Inclusion made clear in his opening statement that he thinks Democrats are interested in creating a digital assets framework.

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Rep. French Hill Discusses Digital Assets Subcommittee Agenda

Rep. French Hill

This morning, Rep. French Hill, who is Chair of the new Subcommittee on Digital Assets, Financial Technology and Inclusion under the House Financial Services Committee, appeared on CNBC in an interview with anchor Joe Kernen.

Highlights include his interest in nurturing bipartisan support for blockchain legislation as well as coming privacy and stablecoin bills. And he also suggested that his new subcommittee will be working with the Agriculture committees in the House and Senate on upcoming bills but did not specify which. See the interview here.

Transcript below:

JOE KERNEN: [On crypto] – people go into both corners depending on which side of the aisle they’re on. Congressman, what what does that come from? Why do you need convincing of one side or the other if you want to do this? The Democrats aren’t going to want to do it. I know I can see it coming.

REP. FRENCH HILL: Joe, good morning. It’s good to be with you.

I think there’s an opportunity for bipartisan work here on creating a regulatory framework around digital assets. I think for two reasons. One, you’re right. There are some Democrats that think anything associated with blockchain, or cryptocurrency is just money laundering in a way to have bad behavior.

On the other hand, there’s some Republicans that think the future is decentralized finance and that digital assets are critical.

I think we bring them together because blockchain is an important innovation area. We want that technology to be done here in the United States. We want a regulatory framework that is transparent for developers, investors, and potential consumers as people try to prove a use case.

And finally, we want to make sure that people have a full transparency of that. And so I think that will bring Democrats and Republicans together for both law enforcement reasons, if that’s what their top issue is, or for innovation and financial technology reasons.

JOE KERNEN: Congressman, do you think we need to follow the money? Do we need to see who who gets disintermediated [and] whether they have big offices on K Street and don’t want this to happen? I won’t mention any names, but obviously there’s a lot of industries that that probably are loath to think of a future with decentralized finance.

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Blockchain’s New DC Powerbroker: The Digital Assets Subcommittee

Digital Assets Subcommittee

With Rep. Patrick McHenry (R, NC) finally in his House Financial Services Committee Chair last week, the congressman whipped up a selection of subcommittees that will carry his party’s financial services agenda in the 118th Congress.

Among them, a committee devoted to digital assets: The Subcommittee on Digital Assets, Financial Technology and Inclusion led by Rep. French Hill (R, AR), a former banker.

Still to be populated with House Financial Services members from both sides of the aisle, there will be no other committee like it in Congress: digital assets and fintech-focused, all the time.

Bipartisan support for crypto legislation has been a key element of driving digital assets discussion in DC to-date (RFIA, DCCPADCEA and stablecoins) even if bills have yet to cross the finish line into law. With a wide spectrum of political viewpoints unifying over a common cause AND attempting to navigate a divided government, this committee would seem to be at the tip of the bipartisan crypto spear.

Topping the agenda for the new subcommittee will be working with (if not helping dictate along with Chair McHenry’s guidance) what the SEC, CFTC, the Fed and any other applicable regulator should do about digital assets and thereby define their jurisdictions.

This will be a years-long, legislative journey as technology and products evolve. But it has to start – or continue – somewhere.

The agenda

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