US lawmaker wants to protect cryptos from regulation

Tom Emmer, the House representative from Minnesota’s 6th district, is keen on cryptocurrency. He’s re-introduced a bill that would protect digital currency traders from unnecessary regulation.

The writing of the bill provides for “a safe harbor from licensing and registration for certain non-controlling blockchain developers and providers of blockchain services.” In other words, companies that exchange cryptocurrencies, or use them for their own purposes, would be exempt from money transmission laws so long as they do not hold their users’ funds.

This isn’t the first time Mr. Emmer, a Republican, has introduced this bill. He previously brought it up in the 115th Congress, where it mostly got ignored. He’s hoping that the 116th Congress, now controlled by Nancy Pelosi’s Democratic Party, is more kind now that he’s found a democratic co-sponsor in Darren Soto of New Jersey.

The bill was developed in part by Coin Center, a cryptocurrency advocacy group. Their executive director Jerry Brito told CoinDesk, ““We worked closely with Rep. Emmer and his staff to develop this bill last year and we’re very happy to see it reintroduced in this new Congress with bipartisan support.”

Don’t look for this bill to become a law anytime soon. The bill will need to make its way through both the Judiciary and Financial Services committees before it could come up for a full vote. Congress is also currently preoccupied with the government shutdown, which doesn’t seem to have any end in sight. Britto conceded it may take some time to see progress on the bill, as “the Hill is focused on other priorities at the moment.”

Once Congress and President Donald Trump come to some kind of agreement to reopen government, it’s still not a slam dunk for House Resolution 528 to become a law. Emmer couldn’t get this bill passed with a Republican majority last year, and Democrats haven’t been any friendlier to cryptocurrency yet. Brad Sherman, the Democratic representative from California’s 30th District, said of digital currency last year:

“Cryptocurrencies are popular with guys who like to sit in their pajamas and tell their wives they are going to be millionaires. They help terrorists and criminals move money around the world. Tax evaders. They help startup companies commit fraud, take money, and one percent of the time they actually create a useful business.”

Tom Emmer will have his work cut out for him if he wants to convince men like Brad Sherman that his bill is worth a second look.

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