Blockchain bill passes House
People,  Politics,  Regulation

Blockchain bill passes the House for the first time

Rep. Darren Soto, who authored the Blockchain Innovation Act, says the technology ‘has an incredible amount of potential for innovation and economic growth’

A blockchain bill has been approved by the U.S. House of Representatives for the first time—and now, it’s heading for the Senate.

The Blockchain Innovation Act was authored by Congressman Darren Soto (D-FL,) who has expressed concern that the U.S. could fall behind in embracing this technology.

Soto’s bill—which has been incorporated into the Consumer Safety Technology Act—calls for the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Commerce to submit a report to Congress that examines how blockchain could reduce fraud and increase security.

In a news release on Sep. 29, Soto said the bill’s intention is the creation of a “Blockchain Center of Excellence.”

‘An incredible amount of potential’  

Soto said the cross-departmental study into blockchain would serve as an “educational function” for members of Congress, and ultimately pave the way for “more actionable, blockchain-focused legislation.” He added:

“Blockchain technology has an incredible amount of potential for innovation and economic growth. I believe our government needs to support that growth, establish light-touch regulations to ensure certainty, protect innovation, stop fraud and enable its appropriate use for government, business and consumers.”

The Digital Taxonomy Act, also incorporated into the Consumer Safety Technology Act, will require the FTC to make recommendations to Congress on how to protect the public from “unfair and deceptive acts” relating to digital tokens.

“The Digital Taxonomy Act adds greater jurisdictional clarity for a strong digital asset market in the United States,” Soto explained. “The amended version of the original bill highlights the importance of digital tokens and blockchain technology in driving innovation and consumer protection initiatives.”

Shifting attitudes?

If passed by the Senate, these bills could help reinforce the narrative that the U.S. is beginning to come round to the idea of blockchain and cryptocurrencies—albeit a few years after everybody else.

Back in August, Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard confirmed that the institution is actively performing research into central bank digital currencies. Although this is a promising step, it’s likely that the U.S. remains a good few years away from being in a position to launch a CBDC—not least because there are painstaking legal considerations to be resolved.

By comparison, China is light years ahead in its quest to launch a digital yuan. Tests have been taking place across the country, with the country determined to ensure its CBDC is up and running in time for the Winter Olympics in 2022.

Earlier this month, reports suggested that businesses and individuals will be obliged to accept the CBDC in their operations once it is launched.

The deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China, Fan Yifei, said the CBDC will be classified as part of the country’s cash supply along with paper notes and coins. He warned:

“No unit or individual may refuse to accept it if the conditions for acceptance are met.”

The developments in the U.S. also come after Europe unveiled plans to regulate cryptocurrencies, with global stablecoin issuers set to face “stringent requirements” within years.

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Connor Sephton is a journalist with an interest in cryptocurrencies, personal finance, and financial inclusion—as well as the challenges the crypto industry faces in achieving mainstream adoption. He owns cryptocurrencies.