Another Congressional hearing slated to talk cryptocurrency, ICOs
Congress returns to the topic of cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs) this week.
The ongoing dialogue over how to regulate the burgeoning cryptocurrency industry returns to the halls of Congress on Wednesday morning. After a February 6 hearing for the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs on the roles that US regulators should play as cryptocurrency technology develops, the discussion now turns to the House of Representatives.
The House Committee on Financial Services’ Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Securities and Investment is slated to examine “the economic efficiencies and potential capital formation opportunities that cryptocurrencies and ICOs potentially offer to businesses and investors, and review the adherence to applicable laws so that investors receive the full protections afforded by the federal securities laws”, only this time the hearing will not be aired live to the public. It’s expected to feature Coinbase chief legal and risk officer Mike Lempres, Georgetown law professor Chris Brummer, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati partner Robert Rosenblum and Coin Center research director Peter Van Valkenburgh.
This week’s hearing comes on the heels of new regulatory moves, including a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) call for crypto exchanges to register, a warning to ICOs and a federal court decision backing the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) definition of cryptocurrencies as commodities – which means the CFTC has jurisdiction within the crypto markets to pursue cases of fraud.
As referenced in the tone of the committee’s memo outlining the meeting’s agenda, lawmakers and regulators have consistently underscored the opportunities that cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology present to American businesses, consumers and investors, while expressing the need to balance those opportunities with appropriate protections.
The hearing is set to begin at 10 a.m. EST on Wednesday, led by committee chairman Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas.
Meanwhile, in other parts of the world, sovereign nations are getting more involved in the phenomenon. Venezuela has created its own cryptocurrency, the Petro – though not without legal challenges, and China is reportedly developing a digital currency too.
Disclosure: At the time of writing, the author holds XRP, CND, ANT and DRGN, and actively trades BTC and ETH.
Picture: Katherine Welles/Shutterstock