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Minnesota Congressman aims to introduce 3 Crypto-specific bills to House

Published
February 7, 2019
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Minnesota Congressman announces his intention to introduce 3 Crypto-specific bills to House

Rep. Tom Emmer, (R-MN), announced Friday he would be introducing three crypto specific bills to support blockchain technology and digital currencies. The Resolution Supporting Digital Currencies and Blockchain Technology directs the United States to prioritize the development of blockchain technology by ordering Federal agencies to work together in creating a coordinated framework to support the ecosystem and avoid creating burdensome restrictions on blockchain networks and decentralized computing services.

While the Resolution Supporting Digital Currencies and Blockchain bill is no doubt an important step in providing the regulatory structure necessary for widespread adoption of digital currencies, the Blockchain Regulatory Certainty Act (BRCA) and Safe Harbor for Taxpayers with Forked Assets Act (Safe Harbor for Forks) provide detailed specifics with regards to two of the less defined areas of the ecosystem.

Miners everywhere will rejoice with the BRCA’s declaring “no blockchain developer or provider of a blockchain service shall be treated as a money transmitter, money services business, financial institution, or any other State or Federal legal designation requiring licensing or registration as a condition of a blockchain service.” Note, however, the bill does not exempt those who, “in the regular course of business, [have] control over digital currency to which a user is entitled under the blockchain service or the software created, maintained, or disseminated by the blockchain developer.” Thus, while exchanges and those businesses responsible assuming control of another’s digital currency will still be subject to laws such as the KYC/AML regime, miners and those simply servicing the industry can breathe a collective sigh of relief.

Finally, the Safe Harbor for Forks Act provides a temporary safe harbor for the tax treatment of hard forks of convertible virtual currency in the absence of definitive IRS guidance. The bill declares taxpayers who receive proceeds of a virtual currency fork are not subject to penalty if they happen to miscalculate their tax liability due to receipt of forked assets or failed to take them into account at all.

As with any bill introduced into the House, these three must first pass review by the relevant House committee (likely the House Financial Services Committee) before being voted on by members of the House. If the bill is approved by a majority of House members, it is then sent to the Senate where it undergoes the same process. Thus, all three bills still have a long way to go before becoming law, but Rep Emmer’s action should be applauded nonetheless.

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