The 116th Congress is off to a busy start, and various members in both the House and Senate have introduced a wide range of bills impacting blockchain technology and digital currencies. Some of the bills would provide greater regulatory certainty to operators of blockchain businesses, while others focus on preventing the use of digital currency to facilitate unlawful behavior. A few of the bills were introduced in the last congress but did not pass. Though passage of any bill is never assured, we have summarized a number of the most recent bills of interest to blockchain developers and the crypto community.
H.R. 56 The Financial Technology Protection Act would (1) create an interagency task force, led by the Secretary of the Treasury, to conduct independent research on terrorist and illicit use of new financial technologies, including digital currencies, as well as develop legislative and regulatory proposals to improve counter-terrorist and counter-illicit financing efforts; (2) establish a bounty program for any person who provides information leading to the conviction of an individual involved with terrorist use of digital currencies; (3) create a grant program for the development of tools and programs to detect terrorist and illicit use of digital currencies; and (4) instruct the president and various agencies to submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report that identifies and describes the potential uses of digital currencies and other related emerging technologies by states, non-state actors, and foreign terrorist organizations to evade sanctions, finance terrorism, or launder monetary instruments, and threaten United States national security, as well as develop and submit to the appropriate congressional committees a strategy to mitigate and prevent such illicit use of digital currencies and other related emerging technologies.
H.R. 428 The Homeland Security Assessment of Terrorists’ Use of Virtual Currencies Act would require The United States Department of Homeland Security to coordinate a federal effort to develop a threat assessment regarding the actual and potential threat posed by individuals using virtual currency to carry out activities in furtherance of an act of terrorism.
H.R. 502 The Fight Illicit Networks and Detect Trafficking Act (“FIND Trafficking Act”) would require the Comptroller General to conduct a study and report to congress on how virtual currencies and online marketplaces (including the dark web) are used to facilitate sex and drug trafficking.
H.R. 528 The Blockchain Regulatory Certainty Act would preempt various state and federal laws such that no “blockchain developer” or provider of a “blockchain service” would be treated as a money transmitter under state law, money services business, financial institution, or any other state or federal legal designation requiring licensing or registration as a condition to acting as a blockchain developer or provider of a blockchain service, unless the developer or provider has, in the regular course of business, control over digital currency to which a user is entitled under the blockchain service or the software created, maintained, or disseminated by the blockchain developer. For purposes of the bill, “blockchain developer” means any person or business that creates, maintains, or disseminates software facilitating the creation or maintenance of a blockchain network or a blockchain service; “blockchain service” means any information, transaction, or computing service or system that provides or enables access to a blockchain network by multiple users, including specifically a service or system that enables users to send, receive, exchange, or store digital currencies described by blockchain networks.
H.R. 922 The Virtual Currency Consumer Protection Act of 2019 would require the CFTC Chairman to coordinate a study and prepare a report with other federal regulators on potential price manipulation in the virtual currency markets.
H.R. 923 The U.S. Virtual Currency Market and Regulatory Competitiveness Act of 2019 would require the CFTC Chairman to coordinate a study and prepare a report with other federal regulators on the state of virtual currency markets and ways to promote American competitiveness in those markets.
S.410 The bill would require the Comptroller General to carry out a study on how virtual currencies and online marketplaces are used to buy, sell, or facilitate the financing of goods or services associated with sex trafficking or drug trafficking, and for other purposes.