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US legislators introduce bill for in-depth study of blockchain in commerce

A trio of United States House Representatives — two Democrats and a Republican — have officially introduced a new bill to spur more in-depth analysis of blockchain technology in Congress.

On Sept. 1, Rep. Darren Soto (D-FL), Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY) and Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA) introduced a new bill to the House, which was subsequently referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce. 

The bill proposes to direct the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, in consultation with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), “to conduct a study and submit to Congress a report on the state of the blockchain technology and use in consumer protection, and for other purposes.”

In May, Cointelegraph had obtained draft legislation prepared by Rep. Guthrie entitled the “Advancing Blockchain Act,” which would require the Secretary of Commerce and the FTC to conduct a study on the impact of blockchain technology on U.S. businesses in interstate commerce within two years.

The draft legislation had, among other goals, sought to rank the U.S. relative to other countries’ national blockchain strategies. 

It also called for a clear determination of the jurisdiction and expertise of different federal agencies in relation to blockchain technologies.

Neither this week’s bill nor the earlier draft legislation mention cryptocurrencies or digital assets, but instead limit their focus to blockchain. 

Guthrie’s co-sponsor on this week’s bill, Rep. Soto, has previously advocated keeping cryptocurrencies under the oversight of the Commodities and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and FTC.  Soto argued at the time that these agencies have a “lighter touch” than the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). 

For blockchain and cryptocurrency enthusiasts, Rep. Soto will likely be a familiar name due to his role as co-chairman for the Blockchain Caucus, a governmental group focused on blockchain-related policy. 

He has been a sponsor and co-sponsor, respectively, of the Token Taxonomy Act and the Digital Taxonomy Act, among other initiatives.

For her part, Rep. Matsui, together with Rep. Guthrie, introduced a bill in Feb. 2019 to direct the Secretary of Commerce to establish a working group that would recommend to Congress a definition of blockchain technology.

This was later taken up in a Senate bill authored by Senator Todd Young (R-IN), entitled the “Blockchain Promotion Act” of 2019.



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