Category Archives: Congressional Blockchain Caucus

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The Year of Blockchain Is Here Claims Capitol Hill Top Gun

Congressional Blockchain Caucus chairman on Capitol Hill, Tom Emmer is making waves again, this time predicting that 2019 will be blockchain’s year.

He was addressing an audience on the initial day of this year’s Washington DC Blockchain Summit. Emmer has become the main voice in Washington’s political circles when it comes to criticizing the heavy-handedness of SEC regulators regarding all things cryptocurrency. Emmer commented that this year:”…stands to be the year of blockchain, the year we separate hype from reality, and begin harnessing blockchain in the right-use cases to lower costs and increase efficiency,”

Notably, Emmer introduced the Blockchain Regulatory Certainty Act bill (H.R.528 ) in January, which if it goes through will save blockchain developers from money transmitter registrations in US states. Another recent Emmer bill would provide tax relief for forked asset holders and a non-binding resolution backing blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

Emmer was stating his point for clear cryptocurrency and blockchain regulations, not for the first time, and warned delegates of the threat of what he called “a patchwork of regulations” by the government. He argued that with this approach:“…the industry will suffer, and prove government to be ineffective. This confusion will undoubtedly lead to more regulation, which will only stifle innovation and potential application of the technology.”

Commenting on the money transmitter laws which his bill was introduced to challenge back in January, he suggested that the laws were originally enacted for a completely different purpose and don’t relate to blockchain, arguing, “If no funds are being entrusted to another, it should be certain that these regulations do not apply.”

He ended his comments on a topical, if not well-worn note; concerns of the government that Bitcoin was still being used for illegal activity. Emmer warned:

“Many, including those in this town, would like to focus only on blockchain and ignore or criticize cryptocurrency,” he said. “They will tell us the bitcoin is used by criminals, and the blockchain is the real innovation. It’s true there are illicit transactions. But that should not be reason to totally dismiss cryptocurrency.”

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Ohio Congressman Tells SEC Hands Off Crypto

Ohio Congressman and cryptocurrency advocate Warren Davidson is to go ahead with his plans to introduce a bill which will effectively eliminate the SEC’s jurisdiction over the industry.

The representative for Ohio is also pushing for sensible cryptocurrency and blockchain technology regulations. He recently invited 32 prominent representatives of the cryptocurrency industry to Washington in order to discuss future ICO legislation. Davidson sits on the United States House Committee on Financial Services, which is responsible for overseeing the entire financial services industry, including the securities, insurance, banking, and housing industries.

The Bill will need to penetrate President Trump’s home guard in the House of Representatives and as yet Davison hasn’t named his co-sponsors. If passed, the bill would effectively create a situation where securities law would not be relevant to ICO as cryptocurrencies would be classified as products rather than securities.

Davidson is hoping for a bipartisan approach to getting the bill through, although the new Democratic majority is thought to have little effect in limiting the SEC’s regulations as they apply to cryptocurrencies. The Examiner commented:

“…[unlikely that the] incoming Democratic majority will get joyfully on board with any form, of crypto deregulation strategy, though the Congressional Blockchain Caucus has historically featured a bipartisan membership.”

Craig Phillips, the senior adviser to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, stated publicly on Monday that the department would be releasing its latest position on cryptocurrencies in the near future.

It has been noted that despite Davidson’s push for change within the SEC to combat its punitive stance on cryptocurrencies, startups have taken their own approach to sidestep rules through VC funding or raising by raising funds privately. Over the next few months, the SEC has several pending cases against cryptocurrency exchanges and ICOs.

CNN claims that this regulatory uncertainty could result in a decline in investor confidence, a fact which  Congressman Davidson and his supporters in Washington are fully aware of.

 

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US Congressman to Introduce New Positive Blockchain Bills

A US congressman is planning is to introduce three pro-blockchain and cryptocurrency bills to Congress.

U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer is presenting the bills entitled “Resolution Supporting Digital Currencies and Blockchain Technology,” the “Blockchain Regulatory Certainty Act,” and the “Safe Harbor for Taxpayers with Forked Assets Act.”

The congressman is one of the stong pro-crypto voices in Washington amongst a group of politicians trying to forward the interests of the burgeoning technology. Emmer was quick to commend the SEC recently when they clarified the fact that Ether was not a security.

Another congressman Warren Davidson, the representative for Ohio is also pushing for sensible cryptocurrency and blockchain technology regulations. He recently invited 32 prominent representatives of the cryptocurrency industry to Washington in order to discuss future ICO legislation. Davidson sits on The United States House Committee on Financial Services, which is responsible for overseeing the entire financial services industry, including the securities, insurance, banking, and housing industries.

Emmer’s three bills would require the government to restrict fines against investors reporting “forked” assets until the IRS has established clear rules for cryptocurrencies. As Emmer suggests, the law must be clear before taxpayers can even begin to comply with it. The congressman has been keen to clarify all legal ramifications connected with blockchain and cryptocurrency so that the industry has clear guidelines in which to operate. Emmer commented:

“The United States should prioritize accelerating the development of blockchain technology and create an environment that enables the American private sector to lead on innovation and further growth, which is why I am introducing these bills.”

Emmer is now co-chair of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus, an industry platform working with the government on matters related to blockchain and cryptocurrency, whilst deploying a ‘hands-off regulatory approach’ in the hope that the technology can evolve in the same way that the internet did – on its own.

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Goodlatte First Member of US Congress to Disclose Crypto Holdings

US Congressman Bob Goodlatte has declared his private Cryptocurrency holdings, becoming the first member of Congress to do so.

Goodlatte, who currently serves as the chair of the House Committee on the Judiciary, has reported that he currently holds a number of cryptocurrencies, namely Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Ethereum (ETH).

Clearly, holding cryptocurrencies in itself is not at all unusual but perhaps a rarer disclosure when made by influential politicians, given the current state of regulation in the US surrounding cryptocurrencies.

The disclosure was filed in on 10 May that congressman Goodlatte owns between USD 15,001 and USD 50,000 worth of BTC, while also holding positions in BCH and ETH valued at between USD 1,001 and USD 15,000 each.

The reason for the disclosure is a result of a Congressional Blockchain Caucus legal advisory that request that all employees of the United States executive branch reveal any crypto holdings within 45 days. The advisory was not simply limited to crypto but all holdings.

Crypto clearly runs through the congressman’s family as his son Bobby Goodlatte Jr has Coinbase investments. Also, Congressman Goodlatte is a member of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus itself. The founder of the group is Jared Polis who requested guidance early this year on crypto disclosure. Analysts are expecting him to be the next politician to disclose crypto assets.

Polis argued in February that, because crypto assets are regarded as commodities by some agencies, Congress should treat them as traditional assets for disclosure purposes. He argued:

“Members of Congress and covered employees are already required to report certain asset holdings over certain amounts, including reporting any commodities holding over USD 1,000, a Member or covered employee should report any virtual currency holding as they would report any other commodity, such as gold.”

Polis is notably pro-crypto, once suggesting that the US dollar be banned and replaced with Bitcoin, and is also one of the first US politicians to accept Bitcoin campaign donations.

 

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