US Congress Adds Two Blockchain Proposals to the Consumer Protection Safety Act

The U.S House of Representatives has approved two blockchain-affiliated Acts through its Committee on Energy and Commerce; this marks the furthest a blockchain bill has come in the 116th Congress. The two Acts which will now be debated on the House as part of the larger Consumer Technology Act include the Blockchain Innovation Act and a section of the Digital Taxonomy Act.

Blockchain joins the list of emerging tech that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Department of Commerce (DoC) will be tasked with consumer threat identification if the bill goes through. Rep Darren Soto (D-Fla) who is one of the bill’s sponsors noted that blockchain tech is excellent and could go a long way with the right regulatory support,

“I believe our government needs to support that growth, establish light-touch regulations to ensure certainty, protect innovation, stop fraud and enable its appropriate use for government, business and consumers.”

As it stands, the unregulated nature of blockchain has provided adequate grounds for scammers to engage in fraudulent activity and get away with the same in a blink. This was one of the issues cited by the bill’s sponsors and, in particular Congressman Jerry McEnery (D-CA); he highlighted that the incorporation of parts of the Digital Taxonomy Act would play a major role in protecting consumers from the scammers.

Better Late than Never!

Although a little late to the party, the U.S is gradually catching up with pioneers like Japan which enacted regulatory frameworks for the blockchain and crypto industry as early as April 2017. Politicians in the country have also started to accept donations in Bitcoin; Rep Soto, who sponsored this bill told the Chamber PAC that his campaign would be accepting BTC donations. The Democrat Congressman is not the only one that has gone this road; former presidential candidate Andrew Yang and MN-06 Rep Tom Emmer are the other candidates that have since accepted Bitcoin.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Congressional Blockchain Caucus Members Ask IRS To Clarify Guidance on Airdrops And Forks

The US representatives involved in the letter include Tom Emmer, Bill Foster, David Schweikert, Darren Soto, Lance Gooden, French Hill, Matt Gaetz, and Warren Davidson.

These individuals pushed the IRS to clarify if any changes made would be applied retroactively or from the current date going forward.

The guidance and laws surrounding the cryptocurrency industry are still rather complicated in the United States. However, it is becoming more and more fundamentally clear that the industry needs more than some tax laws, as eight members of the US House of Representatives jointly issued a letter to the commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service.

According to reports from The Block, reps. Tom Emmer, Bill Foster, David Schweikert, Darren Soto, Lance Gooden, French Hill, Matt Gaetz, and Warren Davidson penned the joint letter on December 20th. In it, they voice their concern over the lack of guidance on token airdrops and blockchain network forks, specifically. The letter follows much of the same path of a request sent earlier this year that urged the IRS to offer more information to taxpayers regarding crypto-related obligations. Emmer filed a bill separately in July to request a “safe harbor” that would protect taxpayers in the event of a fork.

The letter states:

“We wrote in April of this year urging the issuance of guidance for taxpayers who use cryptocurrencies and we are pleased to see that you have issued guidance and addressed many questions we posed. We are, however, concerned that this recent guidance creates many new questions related to the topics it seeks to address, namely forks and airdrops. Moreover, the guidance appears inequitable as it comes almost two years after the Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash fork and three years after the Ethereum fork.”

The letter also adds that the IRS needs to examine more of the cryptocurrency industry and products, which would help them “to provide guidance to taxpayers as to how income related to all crypto transactions will be treated for tax purposes.” The group also placed blame on the agency for their inability to offer “any clarity for withholding and tax information purposes.”

The letter asked a series of questions, aimed at helping the IRS to better work with the industry. The questions ask the IRS if and when the IRS will clarify the airdrop and fork policies, if and when the IRS plans to set a standard for establishing dominance. Furthermore, if new guidance is implemented, the representatives want to know if it will be applied retroactively or just from this point forward.

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Author: Krystle M