US senator bill seeks to cushion crypto exchanges from SEC enforcement actions

Regulation

United States Senator Bill Hagerty, a member of the Senate Banking Committee, introduced legislation seeking a safe harbor for cryptocurrency exchanges from “certain” Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) enforcement actions.

The Digital Trading Clarity Act of 2022, introduced by Sen. Hagerty, aims to provide regulatory clarity around two primary concerns plaguing crypto exchange establishments — (i) the classification of digital assets and (ii) related liabilities under existing securities laws.

A bill to provide digital asset intermediaries with a safe harbor from certain enforcement actions by the Securities and Exchange Commission, and for other purposes. Source: congress.gov

Sen. Hagerty outlined an overview of the problems amid regulatory hurdles:

“The current lack of regulatory clarity for digital assets presents entrepreneurs and businesses with a choice: navigate the significant regulatory ambiguity in the U.S., or move overseas to markets with clear digital asset regulations.”

The aforementioned regulatory uncertainty, according to Sen. Hagerty, discourages investments in the crypto spaces and hampers job creation opportunities in the US. As a result, the blockade “jeopardizes the United States’ leadership in this transformational technology at such a crucial time.”

The senator believed that the legislation, when passed, would not only provide “much-needed certainty” to crypto businesses but also improve the growth and liquidity of U.S. cryptocurrency markets.

To establish the legislation as law, the bill needs approval from the Senate, the House and the President of the United States.

Related: US lawmakers propose amending cybersecurity bill to include crypto firms reporting potential threats

Running parallel to the regulatory reforms recommended by the US senators, the federal government amped up efforts to study the feasibility of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) in the American market.

Under Biden’s directive, the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) analyzed 18 CBDC design choices — outlining various pros and cons of each system:

“It is possible that the technology underpinning a permissionless approach will improve significantly over time, which might make it more suitable to be used in a CBDC system.”

The technical evaluation for a U.S. CBDC system highlighted the department’s inclination toward an off-ledger, hardware-protected system.

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