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US House Republican Committee Members Introduce Comprehensive Digital Assets Regulatory Bill

Proposed 'Financial Innovation and Technology for the 21st Century Act' aims to establish clear regulatory framework for digital assets, promoting responsible innovation in the evolving market.

In a significant development in the world of digital assets, Republican members from both the House Agriculture and Financial Services Committees have collaborated to introduce a new bill. The bill, known as the "Financial Innovation and Technology for the 21st Century Act," spans an extensive 212 pages and aims to establish a comprehensive regulatory framework for digital assets within the United States.


The bill's primary objective is to address the existing regulatory gaps and uncertainties surrounding various digital asset-related activities. By creating a clear framework, the legislators hope to mitigate risks and promote responsible innovation in the rapidly evolving digital asset space.


One of the key provisions of the bill grants jurisdiction over digital commodities to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). This move seeks to clarify the regulatory landscape for digital commodities and their associated trading activities. Additionally, the bill defines the jurisdiction of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and establishes a process for digital assets initially categorized as securities to be sold as commodities.


To be considered a commodity under this proposed legislation, a digital asset must meet specific criteria, with decentralization being a prominent requirement. Compliant digital asset commodities would be eligible for trading on SEC-registered digital asset trading platforms. As part of the enhanced regulatory measures, market participants would be subjected to more extensive disclosure requirements and might be required to register with both the CFTC and the SEC.

Furthermore, the bill seeks to promote international cooperation in regulating digital assets. It mandates the involved agencies to collaborate with foreign regulators to develop consistent regulatory standards for digital assets, fostering a more streamlined global approach to this burgeoning sector.


In light of the surging interest in nonfungible tokens (NFTs), the bill also calls for a comprehensive study by the Government Accountability Office to analyze the role of NFTs within traditional marketplaces.


Notably, prior to the bill's introduction, two of its cosponsors, Reps. French Hill and Dusty Johnson, expressed criticism of the SEC's current approach, labeling it as "regulation by enforcement." The bill's introductory materials also highlighted the inadequacies of the existing regulatory regime in accommodating the unique characteristics of digital assets, thereby emphasizing the necessity for comprehensive and updated regulations.


The other cosponsors of the bill include Glenn Thompson, Tom Emmer, and Warren Davidson. This collaboration marks a significant milestone, reflecting the concerted efforts of the two committees in drafting this legislation. Throughout the year, they have held several joint meetings and worked diligently to ensure a thoughtful and robust regulatory proposal for digital assets.


As the digital asset industry continues to evolve rapidly, regulatory clarity and coherence have become imperative. In response to this pressing need, last week, Senators Cynthia Lummis and Kirsten Gillibrand unveiled their bipartisan Responsible Financial Innovation Act. The introduction of the Financial Innovation and Technology for the 21st Century Act sets the stage for an intriguing competition between the two bills.


With the introduction of this comprehensive bill, the US House of Representatives takes a significant step towards establishing a more defined and secure regulatory environment for digital assets. As the legislative process unfolds, stakeholders and industry players will be keenly observing the progress of this critical piece of legislation, which could shape the future of the digital asset landscape in the United States.

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