The 116th U.S. Congress convened on January 3, 2019 and can conclude on January 3, 2021 – and whereas 2020 will characterize for hundreds of thousands some of the unprecedented years in historical past, Congress has nonetheless discovered time to introduce 40 payments with reference to cryptocurrencies and blockchain.
Of the 40 payments launched, 11 have handed the Home of Representatives and two have turn out to be regulation. The 2 legal guidelines are a part of a lot bigger payments involving the appropriations course of the place one known as for a briefing to Congress on how cryptocurrency impacts financial sanctions and one other known as for a briefing on how the Division of Protection might doubtlessly use blockchain expertise.
For the 9 payments that handed the Home of Representatives however wait motion by the U.S. Senate, three payments name for primarily the identical motion by the Division of Monetary Crimes Enforcement Community (FinCEN) to discover blockchain and digital identification applied sciences to enhance the info evaluation course of and distribution of knowledge to different regulation enforcement our bodies.
The Monetary Know-how Safety Act of 2019 (H.R. 56), was sponsored by Congressman Ted Budd (R-NC) and Congressman Stephen Lynch (D-MA) and handed the Home of Representatives all the best way again on January 4, 2019. The invoice concerned the creation of an, “Impartial FinTech Activity Drive to Fight Terrorism and Illicit Financing” and likewise supplied a reward for terrorists discovered utilizing digital currencies. The invoice was co-sponsored by then Consultant Mark Meadows (R-NC), now the present White Home Chief of Workers, in addition to Congressman Darren Soto (D-FL) and Congressman Warren Davidson (R-NC).
The Homeland Safety Evaluation of Terrorists’ Use of Digital Currencies Act sponsored by Consultant Kathleen Rice (D-NY) was a invoice that additionally handed the Home of Representatives on January 29, 2019. Co-sponsored by Congressman Van Taylor (R-TX), Congressman Peter King (R-NY) and Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA), the invoice asks Homeland Safety to conduct an evaluation of terrorist use of digital currencies.
The Battle Illicit Networks and Detect Trafficking Act or the FIND Trafficking Act was launched in each the Home of Representatives and the U.S. Senate by Consultant Juan Vargas (D-CA) and Senator Catherine Cortez-Mastro (D-NV). The Home model of the invoice, H.R. 502, required a report by the Authorities Accounting Workplace (GAO) on digital foreign money use in intercourse and drug trafficking. The invoice additionally requested the GAO to look at how the distinctive traits of digital currencies may very well be used to trace and prosecute the illicit use of cryptocurrency.
Lastly, the remaining three payments that made it out of the Home of Representatives embody the Blockchain Innovation Act (H.R. 8153), The Advancing Blockchain Act (H.R. 6938), and a part of the Digital Taxonomy Act (H.R. 2154). The Blockchain Innovation Act and the a part of the Digital Taxonomy Act that had been sponsored by Congressman Darren Soto (D-FL) had been added into the Shopper Security Know-how Act (H.R. 8128) that handed the Home of Representatives. On the identical day, the American Competitiveness on Extra Productive Rising Tech Economic system (COMPETE) Act (H.R. 8132) handed the Home of Representatives as effectively. Co-sponsored by Consultant Cathy McMorris-Rodgers (R-WA) and Consultant Bobby Rush (D-IL), the invoice included the language from the Advancing Blockchain Act from Congressman Brett Guthrie (R-KY).
Of the 40 payments, the forms of laws are damaged carried out into 4 classes. The breakdown by share contains the ‘Use of Cryptocurrency by Terrorists, Cash Launderers, Human and Intercourse Traffickers’ at 30%, ‘Regulatory Readability for Crypto and Blockchain Firms’ at 40%, the ‘Use of Blockchain Know-how In Authorities & Enterprise’ at 22%, and the ‘Digital Greenback’ laws at 8%. For 30 out of 40 payments (70%) that will both affect cryptocurrency use by criminals or enhance cryptocurrency and blockchain rules, none have efficiently turn out to be regulation over the past two years within the U.S.
Thus, the one actions impacting the cryptocurrency and blockchain business are from companies or monetary regulators themselves, whether or not it’s the not too long ago launched ‘Cryptocurrency Enforcement Framework’ by the Division of Justice, enforcement actions from the Securities Trade Fee (SEC) or Commodity Futures Buying and selling Fee (CFTC), or most notably the current steerage within the type of interpretive letters launched by the Workplace of the Comptroller of the Foreign money (OCC).
The primary invoice launched within the 116th Congress was extraordinarily fascinating when wanting again at what has transpired over the past two years by way of racial strife confronted by our nation. On January 3, 2019, Congressman Bobby Rush (D-GA) launched the ‘RESCUE Act for Black and Neighborhood Banks’ that seemed to spur progress for minority banks, Black banks, group banks, girls’s banks and low-income credit score unions. The invoice included a ‘blockchain examine’ to be carried out by the Comptroller Basic of the GAO to see, “whether or not such expertise may very well be used to extend funding by lower-income people in startups and different crowd-funded firms”.
Rush additionally later launched, as proven above, one of many payments (American COMPETE Act) that efficiently handed the Home of Representatives in coping with how the U.S. will compete with China on rising applied sciences equivalent to blockchain. Whereas there are usually the ‘typical suspects’ in Congress that introduce nearly all of laws, which embody Congressman Tom Emmer (R-MN), Congressman Darren Soto (D-CA), Congressman Warren Davidson (R-NC), Congressman Ted Budd (R-NC), in addition to Congressman David Schweikert (R-AZ) and Congressman Invoice Foster (D-IL). Emmer, Soto, Schweikert, and Foster are Co-Chairs of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus and have additionally performed a crucial function in sending letters to get the eye of the administration on these applied sciences as effectively.
For instance, Soto led the cost on a letter final 12 months to the Nationwide Financial Council asking the White Home to carry a discussion board on blockchain, and this 12 months requested the U.S. Treasury Secretary to guage blockchain for dashing up the processing of Covid-19 stimulus checks and wrote President Trump on the criticality of this expertise as effectively. Foster, together with Congressman French Hill (R-AZ), wrote a letter final 12 months asking the Federal Reserve what forms of efforts the central financial institution had began to take by way of investigating a central financial institution digital foreign money (CBDC).
A full report of all 40 payments with corresponding analysis will probably be launched towards the tip of 2020 by the Worth Know-how Basis, a 501(c)(3) non-profit analysis suppose tank on blockchain and cryptocurrency in Washington D.C.