The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill that would help direct the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to establish a digital asset working group and open new regulatory frameworks for both digital assets and cryptocurrencies.
H.R. 1602, or the “Eliminate Barriers to Innovation Act of 2021,” was affirmed by the U.S. Congress last week, escalating the bill to the U.S. Senate. It is now undergoing review through the Senate Banking Committee, led by Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Pat Toomey (R-Penn.).
Once passed and signed as law, the bipartisan bill would initiate the commission of a specialized working group that would evaluate regulation of digital assets in the U.S.
The news marks a major progress for a crypto-related bill to get approval from Congress, and would directly impact the status of digital assets such as cryptocurrencies. The bill is set to usher in regulatory clarity on the status of cryptocurrencies, having been a subject of mixed contention from both institutional investors and companies, as well as the state and its forays into central bank digital currencies (CBDCs).
The Eliminate Barriers to Innovation Act was introduced sometime in March by Representatives Patrick McHenry (Republican National Committee) and Stephen Lynch (District of Massachusetts). While other bills that propose regulatory frameworks for cryptocurrencies have been filed to Congress, H.R. 1602 is the first to get passed on to Senate.
“It’s the first bill to address regulatory clarity for digital assets and digital asset marketplaces to pass the house, and in a bipartisan fashion no less,” sharedAmy Davine Kim, Chief Policy Officer at the Chamber of Digital Commerce.
The bill designates a working group that would be tasked to build a joint working group between the SEC and CFTC, in collaboration with financial technology firms, financial firms, academic institutions with research competence on digital assets and cryptographic science, small and medium businesses that leverage financial technology, investor protection groups, as well as business or nonprofit entities that are working to support historically underserved businesses.
The working group will be tasked to draft policy recommendations to improve the current regulatory landscape in the U.S., and extend these policies to international relations, given the global nature of the crypto industry. The working group will be given a full year to evaluate and provide technical documentation on how these recommendations should be implemented through compliance frameworks once signed.
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