Press Releases

Thompson, McHenry Instruct SEC & CFTC to Establish Joint Working Group on Digital Assets

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Washington, August 16, 2021 | comments

Today, the top Republican on the House Agriculture Committee, Glenn "GT" Thompson (PA-15), and the top Republican on the House Financial Services Committee, Patrick McHenry (NC-10), sent a letter to Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Gary Gensler and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Acting Chairman Rostin Behnam.
 
The letter directs the agencies to establish a joint Working Group on Digital Assets. This working group would give market participants and stakeholders a seat at the table alongside regulators to bring much needed clarity to this rapidly growing industry. Republican Leaders McHenry and Thompson’s bipartisan bill—H.R. 1602, the Eliminate Barriers to Innovation Actwhich would require the establishment of a collaborative working group, passed the House in April and awaits Senate action.
 
The Republican Leaders write: “We are at a pivotal point with respect to shaping policies that will significantly impact the digital asset ecosystem. Recent comments made by Chairman Gensler and his recent exchange with Senator Elizabeth Warren provide a concerning roadmap for regulatory actions that will have long-term implications. Rather than regulate innovation and job creation out of this country, we should promote an active dialogue between regulators and market participants. This is the goal of H.R. 1602, the Eliminate Barriers to Innovation Act of 2021, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives in April.
 
“... While H.R. 1602 would require the creation of a working group, nothing prevents the SEC and CFTC from undertaking similar activities under existing law.

 
“An open and collaborative dialogue with all relevant agencies, stakeholders, and market participants is critical. A working group on digital assets would enable both the SEC and CFTC to explore how to effectively use their current jurisdiction cooperatively. Such a working group can foster transparent engagement with innovators in the digital asset ecosystem. As Congress contemplates additional legislation to address regulatory gaps, this work could provide us with additional information and clarity as we make these important policy decisions.
 
“Lawmakers and regulators must work together to properly balance protecting innovation with any new regulations to ensure the digital asset marketplace flourishes in the United States. ... Before advancing new regulations, the SEC and CFTC should prioritize robust discussions on the current domestic regulatory regime as it relates to digital assets and our regulatory framework’s impact on American economic competitiveness.”

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