Republican lawmakers push for crypto regulation with new panel

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The Subcommittee on Digital Assets, Financial Technology and Inclusion is supposed to provide “clear rules of the road” for federal regulators.

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Republican lawmakers announced a new panel on Thursday that will oversee the cryptocurrency industry, as reported earlier by Politico and CNBC. Led by Representative French Hill (R-AR), the Subcommittee on Digital Assets, Financial Technology and Inclusion aims to provide “clear rules of the road” for federal regulators.

Some other duties include promoting financial technology to underserved communities, as well as strengthening “diversity and inclusion” in the crypto industry, which has been subject to increased scrutiny following the stunning implosion of FTX. Representative Patrick McHenry (R-NC), the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, tells Politico that he created the panel to address a “big hole” in how the overarching committee deals with crypto policies.

“I’m proud to announce Congressman French Hill as the Chairman of Congress’ first ever Digital Assets Subcommittee and Vice Chair of the full Committee,” McHenry says in a statement. “I look forward to working with him to provide clear rules of the road for this ecosystem that protect consumers, while allowing innovation to thrive here in the U.S.”

Representative Hill has advocated for cryptocurrency for years and co-sponsored the Central Bank Digital Currency Study Act to explore the possibility of a government-backed digital dollar. The subcommittee’s vice chairman, Representative Warren Davidson (R-OH) is also a supporter of the crypto industry. However, Davidson, along with seven other Republicans, penned a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) last March, criticizing the agency on the potentially “overburdensome” information-seeking requests it directed towards crypto companies, including FTX.

Now former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried is facing a series of charges from the SEC and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) after the exchange’s collapse left billions of dollars in limbo. FTX has since recovered around $5 billion, but that still isn’t enough to fully repay burned customers and investors. According to Roll Call, McHenry said in December that the House Financial Services Committee will develop a “legislative outcome” to prevent similar incidents.

It’s too early to tell how successful the new subcommittee will be when it comes to establishing crypto regulation, or if it will be able to get its policies beyond a Democrat-controlled Senate, which is working on its own crypto-related laws.

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