U.S. Congressmen Tom Emmer and Bill Foster were named as co-chairs of the bipartisan Congressional Blockchain Caucus on Friday and will now be part of a caucus leadership team that also includes Representatives Jared Polis and David Schweikert. In an announcement released after Emmer’s appointment, the Congressman confirmed that he will soon introduce new legislation “to support blockchain technology and digital currencies.”
According to a press release, Emmer plans to introduce three separate bills designed to express support for further innovation, while providing greater clarity to the industry and a “safe harbor for taxpayers with ‘forked’ digital assets.”
The first bill to be introduced is a Resolution Supporting Digital Currencies and Blockchain Technology, which would simply be an expression of Congressional support for the crypto industry. The press release cited the internet as an example of the type of light regulatory approach that the government should adopt as it learns to adjust to this emerging technology.
The Blockchain Regulatory Certainty Act would provide protections for miners and other blockchain-related entities that “never take control of consumer funds.” The bill’s language would exempt those entities from registration as money transmitters.
The third bill, the Safe Harbor for Taxpayers with Forked Assets Act, would provide clarity for American taxpayers who obtain crypto assets from forks. The bill would enable those taxpayers to enjoy a “safe harbor” for those assets, while restricting the IRS’ ability to fine taxpayers who make a good faith effort to report their digital assets. Those restrictions appear to be a direct response to the IRS’ failure to provide taxpayers with the guidance they need to properly report cryptocurrency assets on their tax filings.
Congressman Emmer stressed the importance of creating the right kind of environment for innovation:
“The United States should prioritize accelerating the development of blockchain technology and create an environment that enables the American private sector to lead on innovation and further growth, which is why I am introducing these bills. Legislators should be embracing emerging technologies and providing a clear regulatory system that allows them to flourish in the United States.”