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The first major bipartisan legislation for US federal oversight of digital assets has been announced on Tuesday.
The bill, dubbed as the Responsible Financial Innovation Act, was introduced by Democrat Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Republican Senator Cynthia Lummis, and would classify digital assets as commodities like oil and precious metals. It would also grant the Commodity Futures Trading Commission regulatory oversight of the digital asset industry.
According to a summary of the legislation, the bill would make “a clear distinction between digital assets that are commodities or securities” by analysing what rights or powers a digital asset confers to its holders. This would give digital asset companies the “ability to determine what their regulatory obligations will be”.
New rules for stablecoins would also be introduced under the new legislation, in light of the recent TerraUSD debacle. Stablecoin issuers would be required to maintain high-quality liquid assets equal to the value of all outstanding stablecoins, and be subject to “detailed disclosure requirements”.
While the CFTC is believed to be a more crypto-friendly regulator than the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the SEC would still have sole oversight of digital assets that are classified as securities – if they give holders the right to “profits, liquidation preferences or other financial interests in a business entity”.