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Game-Changing Cryptocurrency Bill Tabled in Congress

Ethereum, Bitcoin and two other popular cryptocurrencies, Binance’s BNB and Ripple’s XRP, have experienced a remarkable surge this year, contributing a staggering $350 billion to the cryptocurrency market in 2023. However, the value of Bitcoin has declined in the past month, falling from its peak of just over $30,000 in 2023. This downward trend affected the price of Ethereum as well as BNB and XRP. Despite this, major players such as Microsoft and Goldman Sachs are covertly preparing for the next bullish market.

Amid concerns that the crypto industry is on the verge of a potential explosion, lawmakers in the United States have proposed a comprehensive framework aimed at establishing clear regulations for crypto companies operating within the country. Patrick McHenry and Glen Thompson, chairs of the House Financial Services and House Agriculture Committees, respectively, presented a 162-page draft bill to initiate discussions between Democrats and Republicans on the two committees, according to Bloomberg.

In recent weeks, leading U.S. crypto companies have cautioned that the nation is lagging in crypto legislation compared to other countries. While Hong Kong implemented its new regulatory regime this week, the European Union signed into law the MiCA regulation.

Regulators have been engaged in disputes with major crypto exchanges, including Coinbase, over the classification of certain cryptocurrencies as unregistered securities. In late 2020, the SEC filed a lawsuit against Ripple, alleging that the company illegally sold $1.3 billion worth of unregistered securities through its XRP cryptocurrency.

The proposed U.S. crypto bill, after several unsuccessful attempts in previous sessions, suggests that cryptocurrencies offered as investment contracts would fall under the oversight of the SEC. On the other hand, those deemed commodities would be regulated by the CFTC. Whether ethereum, Bitcoin, XRP or BNB are classified as commodities or securities would be determined by the level of decentralization in their underlying blockchains, as ruled by the SEC.

The introduction of this bill has been met with enthusiasm from some members of the crypto industry, particularly ahead of the House Agriculture Committee’s hearing on digital asset regulation scheduled for June 6, 2023. Coinbase Global Inc. (NASDAQ: COIN) Chief Legal Officer Paul Grewal expressed his support for the bill on Twitter, stating that it establishes a solid foundation for regulatory jurisdiction and definitions. He added that although a thorough review is necessary, the initial impression is positive.

Messari founder Ryan Selkis also praised the bill, emphasizing that it is a significant step for the crypto industry to receive attention in Washington, D.C., this year following setbacks in the previous year. He acknowledged that there is still much work to be done to develop viable legislation, but he views the bill as a promising starting point for a sensible market structure.

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