U.S. House Republicans introduced a new digital assets oversight bill on Thursday that aims to establish a regulatory framework to protect investors in the crypto sector.
“Today's introduction of the Financial Innovation and Technology for the 21st Century Act marks a significant milestone in the House Committees on Agriculture and Financial Services efforts to establish a much-needed regulatory framework that protects consumers and investors and fosters American leadership in the digital asset space,” said Chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-Pa.) in a statement.
The bill, one of several introduced in recent years that aim to create comprehensive rules for digital assets, comes at a time when a perceived lack of regulatory clarity and a wave of aggressive enforcement actions are spurring established crypto businesses to consider leaving the U.S., and deterring startups from forming there.
“The crypto industry wants clarity and our collaborative bill gives both the CFTC and SEC a seat at the table. Our bill establishes clear principles to ensure financial security and certainty as digital asset developers continue to innovate,” said Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) in the statement.
Gabriel Shapiro, general counsel of Delphi Labs, noted a change from the June discussion draft that in his view "completely alters the value prop[osition] of the bill" and would reintroduce the ambiguity it seeks to resolve.
On page 10, the revised bill excludes from the definition of "digital assets" a range of traditional securities such as stocks, bonds, "transferable share[s]," "certificate[s] of interest or participation in any profit-sharing agreement," and so on.
"The SEC can still go on the warpath...all they have to do is argue that a token is a 'transferable share' 'a profit interest' etc.," he warned.
UPDATE (July 20, 22:03 UTC): Adds context in third paragraph.
UPDATED (July 20, 23:00 UTC): Adds links to bill and an industry lawyer's early reaction.
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