U.S. Congressman Warren Davidson (OH-08), member of the House Financial Services Committee, hosted a bipartisan roundtable discussion, “Legislating Certainty for Cryptocurrencies” with Members of Congress and nearly 50 stakeholders from Ohio and across the country to gather input on Congress’ effort to clarify the “sloppy” regulatory framework in the cryptocurrency space.
Davidson said he wants to preempt any type of heavy-handed regulatory approach that could stall innovation and kill the U.S. ICO market. He said without regulatory certainty will drive innovation outside U.S.
Davidson was joined by his
“Our Republic has a colorful history of over-complicating and occasionally frustrating the very spirit of enterprise that built our free market economy into what it is today – the world’s land of opportunity. The latest iteration results from regulatory arbitrage in the area of digital currencies, more specifically Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), where innovations in distributed ledger technology (blockchain) have outpaced current law and court decisions.
“Watching this early stage market develop I am encouraged by the massive potential of blockchain, which is the underlying technology of cryptocurrencies. This technology offers the prospect of new ways for businesses to raise capital to fund their growth here in America and offers innovative ways to detect and prevent fraud.
“Meanwhile, early attempts to regulate digital currencies have frustrated entrepreneur’s dreams with complex regulation and costly compliance. New York’s BitLicense is a perfect example of this ineffective complexity. Disparate courts decisions and enforcement actions were causing capital to flee the U.S. for more certainty in foreign markets – like Switzerland. In May, I went public with a pledge to introduce a bill creating legislative certainty for the U.S. ICO market. This bill aims to clarify the roles of regulators, protect consumers, address national security concerns, and facilitate a pro-growth environment for companies to raise capital.
“Today, I’m hosted a bipartisan roundtable with my colleagues in Congress to address these issues. Joining our discussion were 48 stakeholder organizations including venture capital firms, utility token and traditional exchanges, non-profits, and other digital token and securities companies. The goal of this roundtable is to listen first, then act – by introducing a bill that will pre-empt a heavy-handed regulatory approach that could stall innovation and kill the U.S. ICO market.
“Lawmaking should always weigh the costs proposed against their likely benefit, balancing the potential harm of leaving in place the legal status quo. Foresight will not only solve problems, but also avoid causing harm. The Internet economy is a perfect example of this where engineers were able to keep pace with innovations, and legislators had enough foresight to see the limitless opportunity the Internet offered. The result was the landmark Telecommunications Act of 1996, which accelerated Internet access and innovation. The law explicitly states, ‘It is the policy of the United States to preserve the vibrant and competitive free market that presently exists for the Internet and other interactive computer services, unfettered by Federal or State regulation.’
“Tapping the potential ICO’s offer requires a law that provides a simple but clear ‘light-touch’ approach. With a thoughtful, bipartisan approach that protects consumers, advances free market solutions, and defines safe-harbors for the earliest stage innovators, Congress can send a powerful message around the world that the U.S. is the best destination for ICO markets,” said Warren Davidson.
Davidson has been leading the effort in Congress to bring clarity and certainty to the U.S. ICO market. In May, Davidson announced he would lead legislation on digital currencies in committee. He then followed up this announcement with a House floor speech. Around the same time he said he would also host a roundtable with stakeholders before introducing a bill this fall.