On March 9, 2020, Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) introduced H.R. 6154, the Crypto-Currency Act of 2020. The bill is the latest effort to provide federal oversight to the burgeoning market for crypto-assets.
The bill seeks to create three different types of classifications for digital assets:
- “Crypto-commodity” is defined as economic goods or services, including derivatives, that have full or substantial fungibility, and which the markets treat with no regard as to who produced the goods or services.
- “Crypto-currency” is defined as representations of United States currency or synthetic derivatives, including reserve-backed digital assets that are fully collateralized in a correspondent banking account, such as stablecoins. The term also includes synthetic derivatives that are determined by decentralized oracles or smart contracts and collateralized by other digital assets.
- “Crypto-security” is defined as debt and equity that rests on a blockchain or decentralized cryptographic ledger, except for certain synthetic derivatives that operate as money service businesses.
Under the bill, the CFTC would be the “primary” crypto-commodities, units within the Department of Treasury would be the “primary” regulator of crypto-currencies and the SEC would be the “primary” regulator of crypto-securities. The bill assigns various additional oversight responsibilities to the primary regulators. H.R. 6154 does not specify whether other regulators would also retain secondary jurisdiction for the different digital asset classes, and in that respect does not advance the goal of providing for singular or uniform federal oversight.
Because Rep. Gosar is not a member of the House Financial Services Committee and chose to introduce the bill without a cosponsor, prospects for the bill seem dim at this time, particularly as Congress’s attention has shifted to the November elections and other more pressing crises. But the bill will no doubt further the debate on the proper role for federal regulation of digital assets.