Republican congressman Tom Emmer has introduced more crypto-related legislation – this time to help blockchain developers from unreasonable financial reporting requirements.
The new bill may help to correct controversial language within the Biden Administration’s infrastructure bill in late 2021, which could theoretically label a swath of the blockchain network participants as digital asset “brokers.”
Clearing the Air on Crypto Reporting
Shared over Twitter on Thursday, Emmer’s bill seeks to provide a “safe harbor” for blockchain developers and blockchain service providers who don’t directly control the private keys for accessing users’ assets.
The Blockchain Regulatory Certainty Act states that such parties should not be treated as money transmitters or financial institutions, nor be subject to registration and licensing requirements unless directly involved with crypto asset custody.
“If you don’t custody consumer funds, you are *not* a money transmitter,” argued Emmer. “The Blockchain Regulatory Certainty Act provides this necessary certainty for miners, validators, wallet software providers, and the entire blockchain ecosystem.”
In November 2021, Biden’s infrastructure bill included an article imposing information reporting requirements on digital asset “brokers.” Critics of the bill contested that the term “broker” was broad enough to theoretically apply to miners, stakers, and even developers – for whom meeting such requirements would be impossible.
A consortium of crypto-supportive politicians attempted to revise the language in the bill before it passed but to no avail. As such, proponents of Emmer’s new bill believe it will provide some of the necessary clarity needed to keep the crypto industry from fleeing overseas.
“For too long, federal regulators and policymakers of jammed the blockchain ecosystem into statutory definitions that just do not make sense,” stated Emmer.
The Regulatory Battle for Crypto
Definitions are a tricky subject for crypto in the United States – especially when determining which digital assets are “securities” under federal securities laws.
Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Gary Gensler has long argued that virtually all cryptocurrencies are securities, with Bitcoin being the sole exception as a crypto commodity. Meanwhile, The Commodities and Futures Trading Commission believes there are far more crypto commodities than that – including Ether and Tether (USDT).
The agency is now preparing to sue America’s largest crypto exchange for listing certain security tokens, which Coinbase contests do not qualify as such.
Its also reportedly targeting the exchange for its staking service, as it already did with rival exchange Kraken last month.
“The truth is that today there is no clear rule book from the SEC on crypto, and efforts to engage with the SEC are met with silence or enforcement actions,” stated Coinbase’s Chief Legal Officer on Wednesday.