US House Agriculture Committee Advances ‘Pro-Crypto Bill’ in Favor of Cryptocurrency Industry

On July 27, the United States House of Representatives Agricultural Committee conducted a remarkably tactful and bipartisan discussion centered on the Financial Innovation and Technology for the 21st Century Act. The bill, co-authored by Republican members of both the Agriculture Committee and the Financial Services Committee, aims to establish a comprehensive regulatory framework for digital assets. Notably, it was previously debated in the Financial Services Committee alongside several other bills.

During the deliberations, Ranking Member David Scott voiced the Democrats’ concerns, emphasizing the need to strengthen consumer protections in the proposed legislation. One particular concern was the lack of provisions for third-party auditing. Additionally, there were discussions about the funding allocated to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), which the bill would grant new authorities to. It was pointed out that while the bill does provide some additional funding to the CFTC, it falls short of meeting the full extent of the funding requested by Chair Rostin Behnam.

The spirit of bipartisanship was evident throughout the proceedings, but it did encounter some moments of disagreement. Rep. Alma Adams expressed reservations about the bill, labeling it a potential “fast track to investor confusion.” She proposed an amendment aimed at ensuring diversity on the boards of market participants, but it was ultimately voted down.

Among the key provisions discussed were provisional registration measures. Various legislators shared their views on this aspect, leading to the approval of an amendment presented by Rep. Yadira Caraveo, which mandates that provisionally registered parties must belong to a futures trade association. This move aims to provide a degree of oversight while regulatory details are being refined.

Further enhancements to the bill included Rep. Jasmine Crockett’s amendment, which requires market participants to have physical addresses, and the reinforcement of disclosure requirements.

In a noteworthy gesture, both the committee chair, Rep. Glenn Thompson, and the ranking member agreed to conduct a deeper study on decentralized finance (DeFi). Following the thorough discussion, the bill successfully passed out of the committee.

The crypto community has expressed strong support for the bill, with Crypto Council for Innovation CEO Sheila Warren lauding the committee’s advancement of the legislation. In a statement, she emphasized the significance of the bill’s passage, signaling a departure from maintaining the status quo. Warren stressed that safeguarding consumers, U.S. competitiveness, and national security are of paramount importance and should not be neglected.

Moreover, Warren called for further refinement of the definition of “digital asset trading system” and the inclusion of a new exclusion category in the definition of “digital asset” under Section 101. She also advocated for clearer restrictions on mixed digital asset transactions to ensure effective regulatory clarity in the evolving digital asset landscape.

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