U.S. Lawmakers to Introduce New Bills Addressing Crypto Industry

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A bipartisan group of U.S. House Representatives is reportedly introducing two new bills dealing with cryptocurrency, CNBC reported Thursday. The bills instruct the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to offer recommendations that would improve customer protections, prevent fraud, and maintain U.S. competitiveness in the industry.

In a statement, Representatives Ted Budd (R-NC) and Darren Soto (D-FL) said:

“Virtual currencies and the underlying blockchain technology has a profound potential to be a driver of economic growth. That’s why we must ensure that the United States is at the forefront of protecting consumers and the financial well-being of virtual currency investors, while also promoting an environment of innovation to maximize the potential of these technological advances.”

Congressional action could help to bring order to the cryptocurrency industry’s regulatory landscape, which – as CNBC notes in its report – is currently fragmented.  Throughout the U.S. government, different agencies continue to define digital assets in different ways. These two bills, along with an upcoming bill from Representative Warren Davidson (R-OH), could help reduce that fragmentation by providing greater clarity for regulators and the industry.

The first of the two bills seeks to address concerns raised by the findings of a recent New York Attorney General’s office report on digital currency exchanges. The bill, titled the Virtual Currency Consumer Protection Act directs the CFTC to assess and report on the risk of crypto market manipulation, and its potential impact on the broader economy.

The second bill, the U.S. Virtual Currency Market and Regulatory Competitiveness Act of 2018, would require the CFTC to examine overseas cryptocurrency regulation and recommend regulatory options that would help the U.S remain competitive without relying on “burdensome regulations that may inhibit innovation.”

Legislators also want to know more about how regulators are assessing cryptocurrencies, and have questions about the efficiency of existing regulatory structures:

Lawmakers are asking the CFTC to clarify which virtual currencies it sees as commodities. It also asks the agency to examine costs and benefits of a new regulatory structure that could replace the current money transmission system, which some in the industry have argued is inefficient.

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