The White House may not believe that the US will pursue cryptocurrency regulation anytime soon, but federal lawmakers themselves have cultivated quite an appetite for legislation that would accomplish just that.
US Lawmakers Build Appetite for Cryptocurrency Regulation
That’s according to a Reuters report, which cites a number of congressional lawmakers from across the political spectrum who, despite their differences on many legislative matters, support implementing new rules to regulated cryptocurrency usage.
“A lot of people don’t realize there’s nothing backing these virtual currencies,” said Carolyn Maloney, a Democratic senior member of the House Financial Services Committee (HFSC).
“We have to look carefully at all of the cryptocurrencies and make sure individuals don’t get taken advantage of,” added Rep. Tom MacArthur, an HFSC Republican.
Even members of the House Freedom Caucus — widely considered to be the most libertarian and anti-regulatory group in Congress — said that they were open to making an exception to address the perceived threats of cryptocurrencies.
“I‘m a total free-marketer, so I don’t want to regulate,” said Republican Representative Dave Brat, a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus. “But if it’s a currency that could destabilize the whole economy, you’re going to have that conversation.”
These comments follow several high-profile congressional committee hearings in which the chairmen of the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) testified that they were “open” to new federal cryptocurrency regulations but stipulated that those rules should be “carefully tailored” to specific gaps in the current regulatory framework.
‘The Marketplace Has Changed’
In that meeting, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton reiterated that his agency’s main interest was in supervising initial coin offerings (ICOs), the bulk of which he says have violated federal securities regulations. CFTC Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo, meanwhile, expressed that it would be a significant overreach of his agency’s mandate to supervise the cryptocurrency spot markets, which heretofore have been primarily regulated in the US at the state level.
“The SEC is properly the lead on the issue,” concluded Republican Representative Bill Huizenga, chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets. “Six months ago, we didn’t see this explosion. The marketplace has changed.”
However, this bipartisan agreement contrasts with recent comments from White House cybersecurity official Rob Joyce, who stated last week that the government was still researching the matter but was unlikely to pursue a new regulatory framework within the near future.