The Members of Congress Who Have Stablecoin Issuers Watching Their Next Moves

Anticipation for a crypto bill out of the House Financial Services Committee ran so high this year that stablecoin issuers have been trying to meet the bill’s expected standards before the rules are even set. That’s why Rep. Maxine Waters and Rep. Patrick McHenry are two of CoinDesk’s Most Influential 2022.

AccessTimeIconDec 5, 2022 at 1:27 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 28, 2023 at 2:28 p.m. UTC

The two most important members of the U.S. House of Representatives committee that oversees much of the financial system almost pulled off a miracle: Writing a bill to establish the first real federal regulations over crypto in the U.S. Alas, House Financial Services Committee Chair Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), and the panel’s top Republican, Rep. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina, faced 11th-hour obstacles for their stablecoin legislation that proved too high to clear.

While the 2022 window slammed on their effort, the work they already accomplished has pushed the tricky issue of stablecoin oversight much closer to reality. Top stablecoin issuers including Circle Internet Financial have been trying to meet what they think the standards will be for the reserve funds before the rules are even set. U.S. lawmakers generally agree that a stablecoin bill will require full, one-to-one backing with liquid assets such as cash and U.S. Treasury bills.

The detonation of FTX has also spurred more reaction on Capitol Hill demanding legislative answers to risky behaviors in the industry. Democrats in Congress had been fuming about the failure of algorithmic stablecoin terraUSD (UST) earlier in the year, and had cited that failure as a reason for a speedy response from the government – including limits on whether mathematical wizardry could fill the role of a token’s reserves.

Waters and McHenry will probably still be on the committee in January, even though the change to a Republican majority in the House will likely put McHenry at the helm. There will still be hurdles to clear for the bill, including a debate over how much authority state regulators should have and how assets should be held. But because they set the stage this year, the pair should be able to pick up where they left off and get a presidential signature on a law that sets rules of the road for stablecoins such as Tether’s USDT and Circle’s USDC.


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Jesse Hamilton

Jesse Hamilton is CoinDesk's deputy managing editor for global policy and regulation. He doesn't hold any crypto.