US Senators Lummis and Gillibrand Set to Propose Crypto Oversight Bill Next Month

The bipartisan duo hope their bill to establish guardrails around the digital assets industry could get votes as soon as next year.

AccessTimeIconMay 24, 2022 at 8:07 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 6:18 p.m. UTC

One of the highest-profile efforts to create a cryptocurrency law in Washington, D.C., would finally differentiate the roles of the two key U.S. market watchdogs as well as free crypto miners from being considered broker-dealers, according to the two U.S. senators pushing the bill.

Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), who are both speaking at Consensus 2022 in June, have been at work for months on the bipartisan legislation, which they said they expect to make public in June – an unveiling that has slipped later and later over recent months. The two were speaking on a panel together on Tuesday at the DC Blockchain Summit.

“We are truly committed to creating the type of baseline and framework legislation that will allow this industry to grow, allow it to flourish,” said Gillibrand. “The best thing we can do for all these businesses is to bring clarity.”

The bill would lean on the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) as the primary regulator for spot markets and futures, while leaving the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as the supervisor of crypto the can be defined by the so-called Howey Test as securities – specifically, an asset that’s “being offered to fund a company in the same way stocks are offered to fund companies.” The legislation would also clarify that crypto mining would not be regulated under rules for broker-dealers.

The bill is still being drafted, but an “optimistic” Gillibrand said she expects to get Senate votes “next year at the latest.” It would have to clear four different committees, of which Gillibrand and Lummis are members of only two.

Lummis said an advantage of working on crypto legislation is that it’s not inherently partisan, though she said of writing this bill that “it’s so important we get it right the first time.”

Meanwhile, in a separate talk on Tuesday, recently sworn-in CFTC Commissioner Caroline Pham said her agency already has enough authority to take a significant role in crypto oversight.

“The CFTC already has a framework that’s ready-made to go right now into the regulated sector for digital assets,” Pham said. The extent of the agency’s existing reach is something “people don’t often realize.”


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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.