Pro-Blockchain Bill Clears Hurdle in U.S. House

The legislation would tell the U.S. secretary of commerce to officially cheer for domestic blockchain technology, though its path toward becoming a law is uncertain.

AccessTimeIconDec 6, 2023 at 9:32 p.m. UTC
Updated Mar 8, 2024 at 6:21 p.m. UTC

Another crypto bill has scored a victory in a committee in the U.S. House of Representatives, with the panel's unanimous approval of legislation that would direct the U.S. secretary of commerce to support blockchain technology.

The brief, 13-page legislation isn't among the big-ticket bills that the industry is desperate to see emerge from Congress, but the so-called Deploying American Blockchains Act marks a small, forward step for congressional efforts friendly to crypto. It joins several other crypto bills that have – for the first time – cleared committee votes on the way to the House floor, though none have yet won approval by the overall House.

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce, in a work session to weigh dozens of bills this week, voted 46-0 to clear the legislation that would direct the chief of the Department of Commerce "to promote the competitiveness of the United States related to the deployment, use, application, and competitiveness of blockchain technology or other distributed ledger technology."

The bill doesn't yet have a counterpart in the U.S. Senate – the chief drawback of most of this year's crypto legislation. The Democrat-controlled chamber hasn't rushed to embrace any of the digital assets bills and is widely thought to be unlikely to change course. The best bet for such bills could be negotiations that meld them with other efforts into larger must-pass legislation.

"At least on the tech side of things, Energy and Commerce is unanimously in support, and there’s nothing partisan about it," said Ron Hammond, the Blockchain Association's director of government relations, in an interview. "Largely these bills have either gotten looped together into larger bills or lead to agency action at Commerce, which has been very open to conversation."


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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.