Legislation to regulate cryptocurrencies and other digital assets has been introduced in the US House of Representatives.
In an announcement on Wednesday, Democratic Congressman Don Beyer, who sponsored the bill and is chair of the congressional Joint Economic Committee, said the proposed laws will “protect consumers and promote innovation by incorporating digital assets into existing financial regulatory structures”, adding that the current regulations and structure of the digital asset market are “ambiguous and dangerous for investors and consumers”.
“Digital asset holders have been subjected to rampant fraud, theft, and market manipulation for years, yet Congress has hitherto ignored the entreaties of industry experts and federal regulators to create a comprehensive legal framework. Our laws are behind the times, and my bill would start the long overdue process of updating them to give digital asset holders and investors basic protections”, Beyer said in a statement.
The proposals include plans to create statutory definitions for digital assets and digital asset securities and provide the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) with authority over them, as well as to introduce a requirement for digital asset transactions not recorded on a publicly distributed ledger to be reported to a Digital Asset Trade Repository within 24 hours.
The new rules will also explicitly add digital assets and securities to the statutory definition of “monetary instruments” to formalise regulatory requirements, as well as authorise the Federal Reserve to issue a digital version of the US dollar and clarify that digital assets and fiat money-backed stablecoins are not US legal tender.
The prospect of new regulations appeared to have slightly rattled crypto markets, with Bitcoin down 2.1% in the last 24 hours at US$38,823 in mid-afternoon trading in London.