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Coinbase CEO joins crypto industry in celebrating ‘historic day’ as bill passes committee hurdle

Coinbase CEO joins crypto industry in celebrating ‘historic day’ as bill passes committee hurdle
Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong said a vote for the "Financial Innovation and Technology for the 21st Century Act is a vote to protect your crypto, American innovation, and national security.”
  • The crypto industry celebrated a new bill passing the committee stage on Thursday.
  • If the bill passes, the CFTC would become the lead crypto industry regulator.

Crypto industry leaders celebrated a big win as a draft law for crypto market structure passed a House of Representatives committee vote.

If passed, the bill will make the Commodity Futures Trading Commission the leading regulator for crypto — a major win for backers and an issue among critics who say the bill may pave the way for another FTX-like scandal.

“A vote today for the Financial Innovation and Technology for the 21st Century Act is a vote to protect your crypto, American innovation, and national security,” Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong tweeted.

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Jake Chervinsky, lead policy officer of crypto advocacy group the Blockchain Association, said it was an “historic day for crypto policy.”

The bill passed easily by a vote of 35-15, with significant support from Democrats in the committee, sending “a strong bipartisan message in favour of reasonable regulation for digital assets,” Chervinsky said.

A handful of Democratic representatives voted yes on the bill, including James Himes and Ritchie Torres, who are both crypto allies.

The price of Bitcoin jumped slightly on the news from $29,344 to $29,484.

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Lawmakers in the House Financial Services Committee vociferously debated the bill — dubbed the FIT for the 21st Century Act — for the entire day on Wednesday, before it was put to the vote.

Stephen Lynch, the Democratic representative from Massachussets, labelled it the “worst piece of legislation that has been presented for mark-up in that 20 years,” in the preceding debate.

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Fellow Democratic representative Brad Sherman said the provisions of the bill that would make the CFTC the leading regulator — effectively deciding the winner of its turf war with the Securities and Exchange Commission — would give FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried exactly what he lobbied for before his crypto empire crumbled.

The bill has been criticised for giving the CFTC more responsibilities without ensuring that it will have the additional funding to live up to them.

CFTC chair Rostin Behnam has said his agency needs $120 million over the next three years to meet extra obligations related to crypto.

The bill has also been accused of weakening consumer protections installed by the US’s time-tested securities laws.

Earlier in July, 18 left-leaning consumer protection groups inked an open letter to lawmakers raising these very concerns.

Markup of House market structure bill - Chart

On to Agriculture

The bill is the result of a highly unusual collaboration between two committees, Financial Services and Agriculture. Agriculture has its own debate on the bill on Thursday July 27.

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If the bill also passes out of that committee, it goes on to be considered by the full House, and then on to the Senate, where it will be assigned to another committee for consideration.

If it passes the Senate, it’s on to President Joe Biden, who will have 10 days to sign the bill into law.

Do you have a tip about crypto regulation or another story? Let us know at joanna@dlnews.com and eric@dlnews.com.

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