Senators Overhaul Infrastructure Bill to Exempt Non-Custodial Crypto Users

The language around the definition of ‘broker’ caused a rapid response from crypto supports on the Hill.

By
Kyle Heise
on
August 8, 2021
Category:
Blockchain News

Senators Respond in Crunch Time

The world of crypto faces a deadline to fix the language in the current infrastructure bill approaching ratification in the Senate.  Three Senators are spearheading an effort to improve the definition of brokers that riddles the bill with potential unwanted ramifications for its vagueness. 

The crypto-specific language has blocked all other talks on the bill and took center stage Saturday, Aug.7, in Washington. Midweek, following significant outcry from the crypto community about the bill’s initial language, Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), and Pat Toomey (R-PA proposed an overhaul of the verbiage on August 3rd. The amendment looks to narrow the definition of ‘broker’ and has already received raves for its interpretations. 

“The digital asset provision in the infrastructure bill continues to be too broad and vague, and our fundamental concerns remain,” read a joint statement on Aug. 4 from US crypto groups CoinCenter, Blockchain Association, CoinBase, Ribbit Capital, and Square. “Senators Wyden, Lummis, and Toomey are right that this language would place unworkable requirements on the nascent industry, and we support their proposed amendment to the provision.”
Joint Statement via CoinCenter

The new Senate bill approves over $555 billion in new spending, so Congressmembers have turned to crypto as a strategy to pay for the bloated spending. The bipartisan duo’s more precise language can help alleviate tensions between the crypto industry and lawmakers. 

A number of famous technological and business leaders have joined the outcry. The usuals, like Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey, but also celebrities like Kiss rockstar Gene Simmons, called to amend the legislation.

Many went on Twitter to voice their concerns. The consensus is in support Wyden-Lummis-Toomey amendment. 

Potential Bipartisan Solution

Some of the main concerns revolve around the definition of ‘broker.’ The bill’s language has faced backlash for the uneducated interpretation that does not comport with blockchain and its functionalities. The reaction from lawmakers appears to have hopes for a solution across the aisles. 

The current definition is controversial for its broad definition around the facilitation of cryptocurrency transactions, forcing those under the definition to report to the IRS. The amendment adds text that clarifies how transaction reporting should not apply to those validating cryptocurrency transactions, i.e., miners. The language also includes hardware or software wallets.

“Digital assets are here to stay, and while more work needs to be done, the Wyden-Lummis amendment integrates them into the financial system while leaving room for innovation,” tweeted Sen. Lummis on Aug. 4.
Source

Last-minute attempts by other Senators to thwart innovation have come as well. Other amendments are in consideration for approval. One from Senator Warren–– which many believe comes from the hand of Treasury Secretary Yellen. Another from Senators Mark Warner, Krysten Sinema, and Rob Portman.

The Bident Administration has been putting weight behind the latter. Yellen appears to be pulling many strings herself against the crypto world as well.

Users of crypto have long been running toward the regulatory cliff. It has been amazing to see the world of crypto rally together since the bill original language emerged.

The amendments are still being debated, but it is a priority of Majority Leader Sen. Schumer (D-NY) to pass the bill quickly. Educated opinions must emerge from this debacle, or else innovation could be in dire shape. 

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Kyle Heise

Born and raised in the East Bay of California. He has studied and worked on three continents and lived in eight countries. Kyle resides in San Francisco. He holds bags mostly in Ethererum, Cake, and BSC GameFi projects.

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