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  • Writer's pictureJamal Saafir

US House Agriculture Committee Passes “Pro Crypto Bill”

On July 27th, 2023 the Financial Innovation and Technology for the 21st Century Act (dubbed FIT) was put into effect by the United States House of Representatives Agriculture Committee. The passing of the bill was through bipartisan cooperation and diligence.

As reported by Cointelegraph, the bill, written by both Republican members of the Agriculture Committee and Financial Services Committee, intends to develop a complete regulatory framework for digital assets. It was argued in the Financial Services Committee along with several other bills the day before.

Ranking member David Scott raised the Democrats’ concerns, declaring that consumer safeguards need to be reinforced in the bill. It does not impart third-party auditing, he said.

In addition, funding for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) was not increased in alignment with the new authorities the bill would give it, though it was later explained that the bill provides the CFTC with the minimum level of funding requested by Chair Rostin Behnam.

The bipartisanship took some time to come forth, as Rep. Alma Adams described the bill as “a fast track to investor confusion.” Her amendment to assure diversity on the boards of market participants was later voted down.

The provisional registration measures inspired comments from several legislators. Eventually, an amendment proposed by Rep. Yadira Caraveo to require provisionally registered parties to belong to a futures trade association was passed, with the focus of offering some oversight of them while regulations were being ironed out.

Shifting over to @HouseAgGOP as they markup the Financial Innovation and Technology for the 21st Century Act, Chair Thompson noted the following in his opening remarks:

"This legislation marks a significant milestone in the House Committee on Agriculture's efforts to create a much needed digital asset regulatory framework that protects consumers and investors while promoting American leadership and finance and technology...We set our eyes to an ambitious plan, but one that was driven by logical and sensible principles for digital asset regulations. Our plan not only produced the comprehensive legislative framework before us today, but also included a joint subcommittee hearing on digital assets, the first of its kind. From these events, we learned that current federal laws and regulations provide few rules of the road for those who want to engage with these emerging technologies, leading to complicated enforcement actions by regulators and creating further confusion in the industry and the market. To address these concerns, this legislation provides certainty on digital assets to market participants. It fills regulatory gaps at the CFTC and the SEC, it bolsters American innovation, and it brings needed customer protections to digital asset related activities and intermediaries."

Market participants will also be mandated to have physical addresses under an amendment by Rep. Jasmine Crockett. Disclosure requirements were also reinforced.

The chair, Rep. Glenn Thompson, and the ranking member concurred to study decentralized finance further. The bill successfully passed out of the committee.

The crypto community has vocally supported the bill. Crypto Council for Innovation CEO Sheila Warren lauded the committee’s passage of the bill in a statement:

“It's a significant marker that shows keeping the status quo is not an option. There is too much at risk for consumers, US competitiveness and national security to take a back seat.”

Warren added, “The definition of ‘digital asset trading system’ should be narrowed and the new exclusion category to the definition of ‘digital asset’ included in Section 101 and the restrictions on mixed digital asset transactions further clarified.”

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