The US House Financial Services and Agriculture Committees, along with the Digital Assets, Financial Technology and Inclusion Subcommittee, and the Commodity Markets, Digital Assets, and Rural Development Subcommittee will hold joint hearings in May to establish regulatory clarity for the digital asset ecosystem. Representative Patrick McHenry, the House Financial Services Committee chairman, has announced that the hearings aim to establish a bill providing regulatory clarity to the crypto sector, which adds to the work on a bipartisan bill led by crypto-friendly Senator Cynthia Lummis and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.
The move was revealed in a joint announcement on April 27 from McHenry and Representative Glenn Thompson, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee; Representative French Hill, chairman of the Digital Assets, Financial Technology and Inclusion Subcommittee; and Dusty Johnson, chairman of the Commodity Markets, Digital Assets, and Rural Development Subcommittee. The joint statement reads: “Our Committees are embarking on an unprecedented joint effort to pass and sign into law clear rules of the road for the digital asset ecosystem. We must strike the appropriate balance to protect consumers without stifling responsible innovation.”
McHenry spoke as part of a panel alongside crypto-friendly Senator Cynthia Lummis during the Consensus 2023 event on April 28, adding more context to the upcoming hearings. “We’re going to hold joint hearings when we return in May. This is going to be the first time we have had a holistic view for a House committee hearing around the regulation, our market structure around digital assets, and a holistic view of it.”
He also stressed that the hearings aim to establish a bill providing regulatory clarity to the crypto sector, which adds to the work on a bipartisan bill led by Lummis and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. The Responsible Financial Innovation Act, also known as the Lummis-Gillibrand bill, was initially introduced in the US Senate in June 2022, and addresses Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) jurisdiction, stablecoin regulation and crypto taxation, among other issues.
The wide-sweeping bill has faced delays, likely due to its complexity for non-crypto-versed Senators. Lummis and Gillibrand have since revised the bill and are expected to release the next draft soon. Commenting on the revised bill, Lummis suggested that this iteration will likely have an additional focus on “national security interests” such as cyber security. “Some of the people that I speak to that remain very skeptical about digital assets are concerned that cybercrime is not adequately addressed in our bill. So I think you’ll see a stronger cybercrime aspect to our bill. I think you’ll see some provisions that require certain registration […] so that companies are properly regulated and vetted.”
The joint hearings in May will aim to provide regulatory clarity on the digital asset ecosystem and strike the appropriate balance to protect consumers without stifling responsible innovation. The hearings will focus on addressing the market structure around digital assets in the United States, which includes capital raising and transitioning products from a securities regime to a commodities regime.