Unexpectedly, despite recent advances in the House of Representatives, the future of bitcoin legislation in the United States Senate is still unknown. Former U.S. Senator Pat Toomey, a well-known figure in the cryptocurrency community, expressed uncertainty about the Senate’s capacity to advance any significant legislation, echoing worries from the digital asset sector.
Toomey, who made unsuccessful attempts to champion his own crypto legislation before leaving office earlier this year, believes that the long-awaited regulatory clarity for cryptocurrencies won’t materialize anytime soon. Speaking at a Georgetown Law seminar on national security and digital assets, he remarked, “I don’t see a path forward in the Senate, regardless of how the vote goes in the House.”
One key hurdle is the Senate Banking Committee, where Toomey once held a prominent position as the top Republican. Despite the House Financial Services Committee greenlighting multiple crypto bills for floor votes, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sen. Sherrod Brown has remained conspicuously silent on legislative action. Brown, while critical of the potential risks posed by cryptocurrencies, has refrained from endorsing specific legislative responses.
Interestingly, Faryar Shirzad, Chief Policy Officer at Coinbase Inc., sees a glimmer of hope in Brown’s reluctance to commit to a stance. Shirzad remarked, “He hasn’t committed at all on what to do. I might actually take that as a really good sign,” suggesting that Brown’s non-committal approach could leave room for constructive dialogue.
However, recent developments indicate growing pressure on crypto firms. Brown urged regulators to use their existing powers to crack down on companies skirting existing laws, aligning with SEC Chair Gary Gensler’s focus on enforcing securities regulations within the industry.
Toomey, who currently works as a consultant for Coinbase, anticipates a significant development in the divisive stablecoin regulation discussion. The fundamental question is whether stablecoin issuers should be governed primarily by the Federal Reserve or by state entities. Toomey thinks that bridging this gap might attract support from Democratic senators and that a deal with the Biden administration is feasible.
Nonetheless, Toomey remains cautious, suggesting that the stablecoin effort might not survive this Congress. He anticipates that the next Congress could present a more favorable environment for crypto legislation. In a landscape marked by uncertainty, stakeholders in the cryptocurrency industry continue to navigate the complex regulatory terrain, with the hope that a clearer path forward will emerge in the future.