Bipartisan Crypto Draft Bills Seek Investor Protection While Keeping US Tech Lead

The proposals have become the latest effort to introduce US virtual coin-related legislation on a federal level.

A bipartisan duo of US House representatives has introduced two cryptocurrency draft bills aiming to protect both investor rights and the country’s leading role in technology innovations. The proposals submitted by Florida Democrat Darren Soto and North Carolina Republican Ted Budd will assign special virtual coin tasks to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the lawmakers said in a statement on Thursday.

The first bill, Virtual Currency Consumer Protection Act of 2018, directs the CFTC to conduct an analysis of crypto price manipulations and recommend changes to current regulatory practices. Soto and Budd based their proposal on a New York Attorney General crypto report that highlights several problems, including the inability of exchanges to protect investors from abusive practices such as trading bots or wild price swings.

“Virtual currencies and the underlying blockchain technology has a profound potential to be a driver of economic growth,” Soto and Budd said in a statement.

The US Virtual Currency Market and Regulatory Competitiveness Act of 2018, as the second bill is called, authorizes the CFTC to compare crypto regulation worldwide and examine “alternatives for current burdensome regulations that may inhibit innovation.” Based on that analysis, the watchdog should make recommendations to the Congress, including a proposal for a federal virtual currency spot market license regime, clarification of which coins are commodities, and examination of the cost and benefits of the new rules.

CFTC should also “encourage the growth of adoption of virtual currencies in segments of the commodity market that could benefit from virtual currencies and access to transparent markets in such currencies.”

Currently, the CFTC oversees Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH), while the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) supervises most of the tokens issued during initial coin offerings (ICOs).

In recent months, US lawmakers have ramped up their involvement in the crypto space. In September, Budd and Soto, along with Republicans French Hill and Tom Emmer, participated in a Capitol Hill roundtable where crypto industry and Wall Street representatives urged Congress members to ensure regulatory clarity to preserve the US fintech lead.

Currently, there are several crypto-related House drafts, among them Emmer’s package of three law proposals and a joint blockchain definition bill submitted by Democrat Doris Matsui and Republican Brett Guthrie.

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