May 23, 2024

CoinDesk Managing Editor of Global Policy and Regulation, Nikhilesh De joins "First Mover" to discuss the FIT21 bill that was approved on Wednesday by the U.S. House of Representatives with a 279-136 vote.

Video transcript

The US House has approved the fit 21 bill with a wave of democratic support. Joining first mover now is Coin Desk's managing editor of Policy and Regulation. Nick Day. He's gonna tell us what happened, how long this took and what could happen next, Nick. Always a pleasure. Good morning. Ok, so I want to talk about what's happening next because I'm not sure enough people are talking about this. This hasn't gone through the full process yet. It has to hit the Senate, talk to me about about what that actually means. It means we all go home and go back to bed. Uh There is no Senate version of this bill. This thing does not exist, it does not have a counterpart. So, um you know, like, yeah, as you mentioned for a bill to become a law uh to pull out the old school house rock um has to go to the house, has to go to the Senate has to be signed by the president. It's gone to the house, the Senate has not introduced any kind of equivalent or similar bill. Uh The closest we have are pieces of legislation from senators. Uh Kristen Gil Brand and Cynthia Lomi, but those aren't the same. And so the best bet that, you know, advocates in the House might have for this bill is to try and negotiate with senators to uh bring this legislation up as part of something else. But it's unlikely. Right now, the Senate hasn't spent any time looking at the specific, you know, uh details of this bill. They don't have any kind of, you know, committee system that's been looking at this. They don't have any, uh, you know, history right now with this particular bill. So the chances of it going through the Senate are really slim right now. And, um, you know, the chances of this happening becoming a law this year are equally very slim. Well, I guess that brings me to something a lot of people have said on this show is that it's very unlikely we'll get any kind of crypto legislation passed before the next elections. Now, Nick, you're telling me very slim. Can you, can you put a number or an odds to that based on the people you've spoken to getting specific would be tricky, but it's, it's low, right? The, so the problem is, and actually just a number of problems, but the biggest one is the election. Um, we are getting pretty close to the time period where a lot of Congress is going to leave town to try and get re-elected. So, basically any, you know, momentum that we might be seeing is going to hit a brick wall after November, we're going to hit the lame term session. That's when you know, we know who's won. But before the new Congress has been sworn in and there's a good chance that something will happen. Then the question is why is that stable coin legislation? Is that this market structure bill? Is that something else that's unclear right now? But what's going to happen is, you know, are most likely going to happen is whatever legislation we do see then will be packaged up as part of the National Defense Authorization Act or, you know, a budget bill or some must pass piece of legislation rather than as a stand alone. What happened yesterday in the house was very, you know, unusual. It was unique that we had a stand alone piece of crypto legislation passed and the fact that this was actually the second time this has happened, uh including the, you know, SAB 121 repeal from earlier this month, uh does make it stand out, but it is really hard to see a pathway to legislation becoming an actual law. Uh At least this year, you know, you mentioned uniqueness, unusualness. There was a lot of democratic support for the Republican led bill. I don't have the exact numbers in front of me, but they were definitely more than expected. How, how usual or unusual is it to have this much Democratic support for Republican bill, especially when it comes to crypto. Yeah, that was a little unexpected. So, it, it was actually 71 Democrats and 208 Republicans. Um That's a lot of, uh, you know, bipartisan support for this bill. Um, for context, you know, people I was speaking to on Tuesday, so a day before the vote, uh we're expecting, you know, roughly I, I would say they were probably expecting around a dozen. We only talked about less than 10 names. So the fact that we went from, you know, less than 10 to 71 in the course of a day is pretty stunning. Um, 100 and 33 Democrats and three Republicans voted against the bill, you know, significant numbers, but that is definitely a bipartisan wave of support for this piece of legislation. And Nick, I got to ask you, have we heard anything from SEC? Chair Gary Gensler before the vote yesterday? He did issue some comments. Um It seemed like he was very much against this bill being passed. Have we had a reaction from him or anyone at the SEC yet? Not that I've seen. Um, he is speaking at a conference in DC right now, so maybe he'll address this. But uh so far, yeah, all we've heard is the opposition statement of opposition from before the vote yesterday morning where he said that it would undermine his agency's work both in traditional capital markets as well as crypto um, obviously he's not a fan of this legislation. And again, at this point, it's hard to see this legislation's pathway to becoming an actual law. So maybe he'll leave it there. But, you know, the fact that it was such an overwhelming amount of support for this, uh, is probably, uh, you know, something to keep an eye on moving forward. Nick, I don't get to talk to you much anymore. So, before I let you go, this is the last one I promise ahead of the elections. What are you watching? What might surprise people about um cryptos influence or lack of influence on the upcoming election in November? I, I'll tell you the question that I've been asking every polling company et cetera that I can get my hands on crypto is of interest to a significant number of voters that I think, you know, that question has been settled. There's been several polls showing that, you know, something like 20% of voters have some sort of interest in crypto. My question is, how important an issue is this for them? You know, we've got a couple of people on social media saying this is a single issue for them. That's the one issue they plan to vote on. Do they represent a broad swath of the crypto voting block such as it is or are they unique in their, you know, conviction here? So that's the question I want to find an answer to and it's the question I'm going to be thinking about for the next six months. Um The results are going to, you know, help determine probably uh to what extent crypto will be a factor in the election. At this point. The main thing that crypto has going for it is that because, you know, markets are somewhat on a rebound, there is a lot of money flowing around the system. And so there are a fair number of politicians who are probably going to be keeping that in mind as they look at votes and you know, public statements in the near future. But apart from that, it, it's really just unclear to me how important the issue crypto is for voters just compared to everything else that's also on the docket this November.

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