US House to Hold Joint Hearings on Digital Assets

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The US House of Representatives is taking steps to provide regulatory clarity to the digital asset ecosystem. The House Financial Services Committee, Agriculture Committee, and subcommittees will hold joint hearings in May to address the market structure around digital assets in the United States. The hearings aim to provide clear rules of the road for the crypto sector, which will help protect consumers without stifling responsible innovation.

The joint hearings will be led by Representative Patrick McHenry, the House Financial Services Committee chairman, and Representative Glenn Thompson, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, along with Representative French Hill and Dusty Johnson, chairmen of the Digital Assets, Financial Technology and Inclusion Subcommittee, and the Commodity Markets, Digital Assets, and Rural Development Subcommittee, respectively.

The House committees’ goal is to provide a holistic view of the regulation and market structure around digital assets. The hearings will cover various aspects of the digital asset ecosystem, from capital raising to how a product can go from a securities regime to commodities regime while preserving rights around products that do not fit into either regime. The committees aim to report a bill out based on the hearings’ outcomes.

During the Consensus 2023 event on April 28, McHenry provided additional context to the upcoming hearings. He stressed that the House is looking to establish a bill that provides regulatory clarity to the crypto sector. The goal is to strike a balance between protecting consumers and promoting responsible innovation in the digital asset ecosystem.

McHenry emphasized that the joint hearings aim to provide a holistic view of the market structure around digital assets. He added that the committees plan to report a bill out over the next two months, dealing with various aspects of the digital asset ecosystem.

The hearings will add to the work on a bipartisan bill led by Senator Cynthia Lummis and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. The Responsible Financial Innovation Act, also known as the Lummis-Gillibrand bill, was introduced in the U.S. Senate in June 2022. The bill addresses Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) jurisdiction, stablecoin regulation, and crypto taxation, among other issues.

The wide-sweeping Lummis-Gillibrand bill has faced delays, likely due to its complexity for non-crypto-versed Senators. Lummis and Gillibrand have revised the bill and are expected to release the next draft soon. McHenry stressed that the House’s attempt to establish a bill will complement the work done by Lummis and Gillibrand in the Senate.

In addition, Lummis suggested that the revised bill will likely have an additional focus on “national security interests,” such as cybersecurity. The goal is to address concerns among skeptics about digital assets and ensure that cybercrime is adequately addressed in the bill. The revised bill may also include provisions that require certain registrations, so companies are properly regulated and vetted.

Overall, the joint hearings by the US House of Representatives aim to provide regulatory clarity to the digital asset ecosystem.

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