Bitcoin and cryptocurrency prices have soared this weekend, with the bitcoin price making significant gains over $40,000 (subscribe now to Forbes’ CryptoAsset & Blockchain Advisor and discover crypto blockbusters poised for 1,000% gains).
The bitcoin price climbed to almost $43,000 per bitcoin last night, its highest since mid-May and almost $10,000 higher than its price this time last week. Meanwhile, the ethereum price has led the cryptocurrency market higher over the last 24 hours, with traders eyeing $3,000 per ether token. The combined crypto market has added $250 billion over the last week and is now nearing $1.7 trillion.
However, many crypto traders are feeling increasingly nervous due to the $550 billion bipartisan infrastructure bill that’s currently making its way through U.S. legislature and includes a provision to raise $28 billion from crypto investors, with some warning it could “kill” the industry.
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“This is a deeply misguided provision that, if adopted, will do far more harm than good to U.S. interests,” Jake Chervinsky, a crypto-focused lawyer, wrote in a lengthy Twitter thread laying out how the bill could impact the burgeoning crypto industry and market.
The bill, which this week passed a preliminary Senate vote, proposes taxing bitcoin and cryptocurrency profits to fund U.S. infrastructure investment, with the definition of a broker being widened to the extent that crypto exchanges and wallet providers would need to collect far more information about their users than they currently do.
Any broker that transfers any digital assets would need to file a return under a modified information reporting regime, according to a draft copy of the bill seen by Coindesk.
“The provision includes updating the definition of broker to reflect the realities of how digital assets are acquired and traded,” the document said. “The provision further makes clear that broker-to-broker reporting applies to all transfers of covered securities within the meaning of section 6045(g)(3), including digital assets.”
“Things are moving fast, which can feel scary,” wrote Chervinsky, adding “don’t panic. This provision isn’t final yet and still can be changed.”
Chervinsky warned that “it defies logic to adopt a regulation for which compliance is literally impossible, unless the goal is to kill the industry,” and “this could mean a de facto ban on [crypto] mining in the USA.”
Since China’s bitcoin and cryptocurrency mining crackdown in recent months—in which those who use powerful computers to secure blockchains and validate transactions in return for new crypto tokens were expelled from the country—the U.S. has emerged as a potential new home for many.
However, lawmakers who fear bitcoin and crypto mining could accelerate climate change have signaled they’re unhappy with the industry’s U.S. growth.
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Bitcoin and crypto experts are warning the language used in the bill risks broadening definitions of brokers to the extent it includes those that provide hardware and software.
“Unfortunately, in the drafts, we’ve seen the categories of persons who would be obligated to report is so broad that it potentially covers persons who only provide software or hardware to customers, and who have no visibility whatsoever into user transactions,” Jerry Brito, the executive director of Washington D.C.-based crypto think tank Coin Center said via Twitter, adding he was trying to “fix” the bill’s crypto provision.
“It potentially also covers miners’ indexes, the saving grace is that arguably miners’ indexes for that matter do not have customers as defined by the tax code.”