Rep. Waters wants Treasury, SEC input on Republican crypto bill

Waters isn’t a fan of the Republican crypto bill draft, and she wants regulators to back her up


US Rep. Maxine Waters | majunznk/"Maxine Waters" (CC license)


Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Cali., has given US regulators one week to weigh in on the potential impact and reach of the latest crypto bill advanced by Republicans. 

In letters sent to the US Treasury Department and the SEC on June 23, Waters asked the agencies to review the Market Structure Bill, a discussion draft sponsored by Republican Committee heads Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., and Glenn Thompson, R-Penn.  

Waters wants to know how the bill would change the role of the SEC and Treasury and the effectiveness of the legislation in terms of protecting investors, as well as if its contents pose a threat to the stability of financial markets. 

“If there are recommendations or changes to existing law outside the scope of the bill that you believe would protect investors within the digital assets space, I would welcome those views as well,” Waters said in her letter to SEC Chair Gary Gensler.

Waters asked both agencies to respond to her office by Friday, and she requested both Gensler and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen be prepared to brief lawmakers about their findings. 

The letters come after Waters and other House Democrats have expressed concern about the current Republican agenda and their approach to crypto regulation. 

“I have some initial concerns I’d like to discuss today,” Waters said during a hearing earlier this month to discuss the legislation. “For starters, I am particularly worried that the Republican bill would allow crypto firms that are currently being sued for violating our securities laws to continue doing business through provisional registration.” 

The Republican draft seeks to give more authority to the CFTC to oversee crypto commodity spot markets, which is outside of its current oversight. The CFTC regulates bitcoin and ether derivatives. 

Waters has maintained that the SEC is equipped to issue crypto guidance. 

“The door is always open for crypto companies to register with the SEC,” Waters said during the hearing, quoting Gensler.

Plus, the “securities laws — which have worked for every other industry for 90 years — can also work for crypto firms,” she said.

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