The US House of Representatives Financial Services Committee and the House Agriculture Committee have announced plans to develop legislation to oversee the cryptocurrency sector. According to Rep. Patrick McHenry (R–NC), who chairs the House Financial Services Committee, said the committee will hold joint public hearings starting in May and plans to introduce the law in the next two months. The bill is expected to address the securities and commodities regime, as well as other issues that are difficult to fix on either side.
Although there have been several pieces of legislation addressing cryptocurrency regulation in the past year, the US Congress has yet to pass a comprehensive bill on the matter. However, lawmakers are under increasing pressure to take action following recent incidents in the industry, including the crash of crypto exchange FTX and the collapse of crypto banking.
During a session at CoinDesk’s Consensus 2023 event, Senator Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) also expressed support for coordinating efforts with McHenry to address the issue. Lummis introduced the bipartisan “Responsible Financial Innovation Act” with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (DN.Y.) last year, which aims to create a regulatory framework for the industry. He also mentioned that a new and improved version of the bill would be announced in the next few weeks.
The law comes amid growing concerns that the US is falling behind other major jurisdictions in regulating the crypto space. The European Union recently introduced the Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) law, making it the first major jurisdiction to introduce comprehensive crypto regulation. Regulators in Japan, the United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong and the UK are also reviewing their approach to the sector.
McHenry and Lummis stressed the importance of taking a bipartisan approach to the law, with Lummis calling it a “bipartisan subject that we need to work on before the 2024 elections”. However, McHenry also acknowledged that it can be difficult to legislate something new into existence and provide certainty in an evolving industry. Nonetheless, he stressed the need for Congress to provide clarity and guidance to fix the problems facing the crypto industry.