U.S. Congressman Tom Emmer (R-MN) has announced plans to introduce new legislation that will “provide a path to regulatory certainty” for cryptocurrencies and other emerging technologies.
The announcement came during last week’s hearing of the House Financial Services Committee, during which Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was called to testify about the beleaguered Libra crypto project.
Emmer noted that, while he had serious concerns about Libra, what he was most concerned about was Congress and U.S. regulators.
“Unfortunately, my colleagues have offered several proposals in conjunction with this hearing that could have a tremendously harmful impact on innovation in the United States,” he said.
“A few of these provisions appear to apply securities regulation beyond actual securities,” Emmer added, taking aim at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Reining in the long arm of the SEC
Emmer, who also serves as the co-chair of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus, recounted how, time and again, he meets with entrepreneurs in the crypto space who “try to follow the rules and never receive a clear answer from regulators that what they’re doing is legal.”
“It has not been clear whether innovators who play by the rules of the road will ever receive the assurances that the U.S. government will not come after them.”
Addressing the lack of regulatory clarity and the seemingly overreaching arm of the SEC, Emmer stated that he intends to introduce a bill that “will make it clear that as long as you register as a security or comply with an exemption under existing law, you will not continue to have prosecution from a regulator hanging over your head when that asset is publicly distributed and, in fact, is a commodity.”
Congressman Tom Emmer has outlined intention to introduce a new U.S. #crypto bill that could provide token sales legal protection from #SEC enforcement actions, saying authorities should only apply securities regulations to cryptos that meet traditional criteria of securities.
— Weiss Crypto Ratings (@WeissCrypto) October 30, 2019
In a press release published on Emmer’s page on the House of Representatives’ website, the congressman declared:
“Companies that have followed our current rules of the road, even if convoluted, deserve the certainty that they can offer their digital asset to the public and help contribute to a truly decentralized network.”
“I am hopeful this non-partisan legislation will receive strong support and help ensure investment in the United States for these extraordinary technologies.”
A history of defending crypto and blockchain
This is not Emmer’s first time going toe to toe with lawmakers over a lack of regulatory clarity in the crypto and blockchain space.
In July of this year, he reintroduced his Safe Harbor for Taxpayers with Forked Assets bill, which would prohibit “penalties against taxpayers until the IRS issues guidance on how to report gains or losses in ‘forked’ digital assets.”
Originally introduced in 2018, the Forked Assets bill “would establish a safe harbor for taxpayers attempting to report gains or losses in these forked digital assets.”
Speaking about the proposed legislation, Emmer noted: “Legislators should be embracing emerging technologies and providing a clear regulatory system that allows them to flourish in the United States.”
“Taxpayers suffering from the uncertainty of tax guidance are being unfairly punished for investing in an emerging technology. This safe harbor will protect the taxpayers until the IRS addresses this important issue.”