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More Wrangling on Crypto Regulation at Joint US House Hearing

The joint hearing on oversight of rules for the future of digital assets opened with disagreements.

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The two most crypto-relevant committees in the US held a rare joint meeting to figure out the best approach to regulate digital assets.

However, one of the top Democrats questioned whether Congress should be writing a bill at all.

On Wednesday, the House Financial Services Committee and the House Agriculture Committee held a joint hearing to discuss the need for greater government regulation of the financial industry.‌‌‌‌The participants included Republican chairs and ranking Democrats on the working committees and subcommittees.

Among those present on the digital assets subcommittee was a senior Democrat representative, Stephen Lynch, who expressed scepticism about the viability of legislative action on behalf of his party.

Patrick McHenry, chair of the House Financial Services Committee, stated, "The purpose here is to make law."

And Maxine Waters of the Democratic Party seemed to concur, saying lawmakers must "quickly return to developing legislation together."

But Lynch was aligned with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), saying the rules already in place were sufficient.

But Representative French Hill, who chairs the House Financial Services Committee's digital assets subcommittee, argued that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission's (CFTC) action against Binance shows that the CFTC and the SEC were unsure of where they stand when it comes to regulating cryptocurrency.

The present position of the House Republicans on crypto oversight was posted on the committee website.

That draft resolution argues that the SEC is taking the wrong approach and that regulators should wait for guidance from Congress. They also suggested Congress should provide digital assets with specific laws that create the same investor safeguards as in other markets.

While the Republicans didn't disclose specific aspects of their future legislation on Wednesday, Hill questioned an industry witness at the hearing if the way of crypto disclosures described by SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce in 2021 would be appropriate.

"Overall, the joint committee meeting opened a can of worms and left more questions to be answered on the table, rather than finding a solution," said the Chief Investment Officer at a large US asset management firm in Boston.

"We are even more unsure of what the rules will look like when the political posturing and the war of words were the weapons used at the start itself," added the CIO.

That joint committee meeting comes on the heels of a symposium on Wednesday, during which speakers lamented the lack of global agreement on regulating crypto assets.

Instead, they said it felt like a "fire hose" of different methods was thrown at them in the name of crypto rules.

The symposium, though, lauded India's idea and efforts to bring a global consensus for regulating digital assets.

The EU has completed the first set of global regulations for crypto asset markets, known as MiCA, other countries, such as the UK and the US, have yet to catch up.

In many places around the world, crypto businesses are not regulated at all, or at least not beyond making sure they follow the legislation meant to prevent money laundering and terrorism funding.

India is a prime example, despite leading the charge for a global consensus as the G20 president this year.

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