Rep. Tom Emmer mulls bringing back bill aimed at reducing crypto red tape


Crypto-friendly Congressman Tom Emmer is considering re-floating a bipartisan bill that would lift the requirement for certain crypto businesses and projects to register as Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs) in the wake of the FTX collapse. 

The bill titled “Blockchain Regulatory Certainty Act” was led by Republican Emmer and Democratic Congressman Darren Soto. It was tabled during the 117th Congress on Aug. 17, 2021, and did not make it any further down the line.

Emmer may be liking his chances a bit more the second time around, given the current climate in which the U.S. government is scrambling to get regulation off the ground to prevent another FTX-style disaster.

Tweeting on Dec. 15, Emmer noted that it’s “probably a good time” to re-introduce the bill, adding that:

“The bill asserts that blockchain entities that never custody consumer funds are not money transmitters… providing necessary legal certainty to ensure the future of crypto reflects American values.”

The bill itself aims to set out guidelines that remove certain hurdles and requirements for “blockchain developers and service providers” such as miners, multi-signature service providers and decentralized finance (DeFi) platforms.

It was put forward in response to a June 2021 draft guidance from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) that would have expanded the definition of virtual asset services providers to include “any provider that may develop or operate a DeFi platform, even if they have no interaction with users.”

While a number of U.S. politicians attacked crypto at the House Financial Services Committee hearing on FTX’s collapse this week, Emmer has notably praised the crypto community for using blockchain tech to uncover key info on the firm’s operations.

Bills, bills everywhere

On the other end of the political spectrum, crypto-skeptic Senator Elizabeth Warren introduced the Digital Asset Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2022 on Dec. 14, alongside Senator Roger Marshall.

The bill essentially seeks to stop financial institutions from using privacy tools such as crypto mixers and mandate crypto firms to follow the same money-laundering rules as banks, a well as regulating crypto kiosks (ATMs).

Related: US senator calls on SEC’s Gensler to answer for ‘regulatory failures’

It would also require miners, custodial and self-custodial wallet providers to implement Know Your Customer (KYC) controls.

Senator Cynthia Lummis, a known hodler and Bitcoin proponent, has of course criticized the bill, arguing that such KYC requirements won’t work within the context of crypto.

On Dec. 14, Lummis herself also outlined that she intends to re-introduce a bill that would hand over most authority over crypto to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), as opposed to the Securities and Exchange Commission, which Warren among others are pushing for.