Now that Republicans control the House of Representatives, they hope to set the crypto agenda. Financial Services Committee Chairman Patrick McHenry (above) announcement a digital assets, fintech and inclusion sub-committee that aims to set policy for technologies such as cryptocurrency. Led by Rep. French Hill, the panel hopes to establish “clear rules of thumb” for federal regulators, create policies that bring fintech to underserved communities, and strengthen diversity and inclusivity in digital assets.
In a interview with Politics, McHenry said he was creating the subcommittee to fill a “big hole” in financial services’ approach to crypto issues. McHenry sees crypto regulation as his top legislative priority, and the Hill Group chairman has led the GOP investigation into a potential central bank backed cryptocurrency.
The move comes as regulators struggle to find common ground on crypto. While agencies like the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) agree that digital assets are subject to the laws in force, there have been disputes over who should intervene and when. Senators introduced a bill that would create a clear regulatory frameworkbut it was glue in committee.
There is pressure on the House subcommittee to act. The implosion of crypto giant FTX highlighted the risks of leaving technology unchecked. Authorities are also investigating big names in the industry like Celsius and Coinbase on possible violations of the rules. Clearer rules would theoretically improve the federal government’s responses to violations like these.
It is unclear how effective the House panel will be. Although there are crypto supporters in both major parties, the Democrats’ extensive control of the Senate could prevent the bills from becoming law in the event of substantial disagreement. Both sections of Congress must pass and reconcile the legislation before it reaches the president’s desk. The subcommittee’s very existence suggests that Congress is taking crypto more seriously, however, and there’s a chance it could accelerate bipartisan efforts to oversee digital cash and tokens.
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