U.S. Congress Eyes Federal Oversight On Cryptocurrency

U.S. lawmakers are proceeding to consider new rules that could force stricter federal oversight on cryptocurrencies and they all seem to agree, Reuters reported.

While Congress fights over everything from gun control, Russia, healthcare and more, the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate in both parties have seemed to agree in a bipartisan way that cryptocurrencies need federal regulation.

“There’s no question about the fact that there is a need for a regulatory framework,” Republican Senator Mike Rounds, a Senate Banking Committee member said.

According to Reuters, digital assets currently fall into a jurisdictional gray area between the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve and individual states.

Much of the fueled concern on Capitol Hill is focused on speculative trading and investing in cryptocurrencies, leading some lawmakers to push for digital assets to be regulated as securities and subject to the SEC’s investor protection rules.

“The SEC is properly the lead on the issue,” Republican Representative Bill Huizenga said.

Huizenga is chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets which will hold hearings in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, a Democratic senior member of the House Financial Services Committee, Carolyn Maloney, is also advocating for direct oversight of cryptocurrencies by the SEC.

     ”A lot of people don’t realize there’s nothing backing these virtual currencies,” Maloney erroneously claimed.

Another Republican lawmaker, Tom MacArthur, agrees and stated:

“We have to look carefully at all of the cryptocurrencies and make sure individuals don’t get taken advantage of,” said Representative Tom MacArthur, a House Financial Services Committee Republican.

Even conservative Republicans are calling for federal oversight:

“I‘m a total free-marketer, so I don’t want to regulate,” Republican Representative Dave Brat, a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, said.

“But if it’s a currency that could destabilize the whole economy, you’re going to have that conversation,” Brat added.

Where they differ, however, is that some lawmakers want cryptocurrencies to be classified as commodities rather than securities, while others want both.

Like Senator Rounds who told Reuters there was an opportunity to regulate cryptocurrencies as both a security and a commodity.

Although it seems to be the general consensus that cryptocurrencies need regulation there is still a problem of protecting innovation, which a few agree needs to be upheld.

“The goal here is to have rules of the road that protect consumers without trying to squash innovation.” Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen, a member of the Senate Banking Committee.

This comes after the U.S. Congress held a hearing on the subject of cryptocurrency, with the heads of the two main U.S. financial market regulators the CFTC and SEC.

J. Christopher Giancarlo, chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and Jay Clayton, his counterpart at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), testified on Capitol Hill.  Both stated they were “open” to federal regulation of cryptocurrency exchanges.

Last week, Colorado House Representative Jared Polis sent a letter to the U.S. House Committee on Ethics urging the organization to propose ordinances that require government employees to declare their Bitcoin and digital currency holdings.

Globally, financial regulators are planning to meet at G20 in March next month to discuss cryptocurrency regulation worldwide, News Bitcoin reported.

The G20 includes central bankers and leaders from 19 countries and the European Union, spanning the entire globe: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, United Kingdom, and the United States.

Bitcoin is currently trading at [FIAT: $10,608.90] according to Coin Market Cap at the time of this report.

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