House Ag Committee considers digital assets bill, Dems inquire about funding.

The United States House of Representatives Agricultural Committee held a hearing on June 6th to discuss digital asset regulation. The hearing included an impressive lineup of regulators including the current chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), Rostin Behnam, a former chair, a former acting chair, and a former commissioner of the CFTC, as well as blockchain chief legal officer, Paul Grewal. The hearing was very long, with Behnam alone speaking and answering questions for over two hours. The topic of the hearing was the draft bill authored by committee chair Glenn Thompson and House Financial Services Committee Chair Patrick McHenry. The bill aims to provide more rules of the road for digital assets, especially in the spot market for assets that are not securities. The bill would not impact existing law but would fill gaps in the regulatory framework. The Thompson-McHenry bill would change the method of defining securities and commodities based on how the asset was traded and the level of decentralization. The bill would also create new definitions of digital commodity brokers and dealers without altering the core components of market structure. The regulatory gap affects 60% of the digital assets market, Behnam said. The bill does not include a funding mechanism, and the House Appropriations Committee has proposed cutting funding to the CFTC. Behnam said that with the digital assets regulatory bill, the CFTC would require an additional $120 million over three years to pay for three rulemaking teams and new computer hardware and software. Rulemaking would take up to four years.

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