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House creates cryptocurrency regulation subcommittee

Technology for Lawyers

Published: March 10, 2023

The new Congress may seem to be marked by lots of infighting, posturing and just plain weirdness but it has managed to get a few things done.
They are actually, formally, going to pay attention to cryptocurrency, FinTech, and that whole world with a subcommittee empowered to actually, I don’t know, talk about cryptocurrency in public.
The House Financial Services Committee, one of the most powerful subcommittees in Congress, has created the first Subcommittee on Digital Assets, Financial Technology, and Inclusion.
The subcommittee’s formation comes after a completely insane year in crypto, led by the collapse of the fraud machine FTX and the arrest of SBF, the subsequent freeze of the assets of Genesis Global Capital, the devaluing of most cryptocurrency (which paralleled the loss in value of tech stocks across the board), and, you know, the screaming of the tech bros across the internet and the parallel “I told ya so’s.”
It's enough to even make the stodgy U.S. Congress sit up and take notice.
The new subcommittee, which, as the name implies, will oversee/ regulate cryptocurrency and fintech, will be chaired by crypto maven French Hill, Republican of Arkansas.
Rep. Hill has worked on task forces on crypto and artificial intelligence and on the Financial Services Committee itself. He is one of the few members of congress of either party who is known for expertise in these areas, although he’s considered more industry-friendly than many, with his background in banking and as a US Treasury official.
In a statement, Hill said: “At a time of major technological advancement and change in the financial sector, it is our job to work across the aisle and promote responsible innovation while encouraging FinTech innovation to flourish safely and effectively in the United States.”
According to the website of the Financial Services Committee (chaired by Rep. Patrick McHenry, a Republican from South Carolina), the committee will be charged with, “among other things,”
• Providing clear rules of the road among federal regulators for the digital asset ecosystem
• Developing policies that promote financial technology to reach underserved communities (note: this is the “inclusion” part of the subcommittee’s title)
• Identifying best practices and policies that continue to strengthen diversity and inclusion in the digital asset ecosystem.
As Hill said on CNBC, “we want to have the US be a leader so we want to create a regulatory legal framework for digital assets, including digital payments, that makes America a leader from an innovation point of view, but also protects consumers and investors.”
Crypto consumers and investors are the same people, and inclusion may be just an expansion of a sucker’s market into poorer neighborhoods. So we’ll see.