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US House passes landmark FIT21 crypto bill with bipartisan support

Senate's next move remains uncertain as the House passes the key crypto regulation bill.

House approves crypto bill, FIT21

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The US House of Representatives has approved the Financial Innovation and Technology for the 21st Century Act (FIT21), a wide-reaching bill that establishes regulations for digital asset markets.

The bill passed with a 279-136 vote, marking the crypto industry’s biggest-ever policy win in the US and the first time a major crypto bill has cleared one of Congress’ chambers.

The vote saw significant bipartisan support, with 71 Democrats joining 208 Republicans in favor of the bill, while 133 Democrats and 3 Republicans voted against it. The bill’s passage came despite opposition from the White House SEC Chair Gary Gensler, who argued that the legislation was unnecessary and endangered existing securities regulations.

Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), one of the Democrats who supported the bill, called it “well-reasoned, thoughtful, bipartisan legislation” and argued that it was “fit to become law if we work together.” On the other hand, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, criticized the bill, claiming that it sought to reward illegal activities by making them legal.

FIT21 aims to establish a regime to regulate US crypto markets, set consumer protections, and install the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) as a leading regulator of digital assets and the watchdog of the non-securities spot markets. The bill also seeks to more clearly define what makes a crypto token a security or a commodity. Prior to the vote, the White House voiced its opposition and said that it would not veto the bill.

Before the final vote, the House debated and voted on several amendments to the bill. Amendments by Reps. Brittany Pettersen (D-Co.), Ralph Norman (R-S.C.), and Scott Perry (R-Pa.) were adopted, while an amendment by Rep. Greg Casar (D-Texas) was defeated.

The passage of FIT21 in the House shifts the focus to the US Senate, where the future of the legislation remains uncertain. There is currently no counterpart bill in the Senate, and support for such an effort is unclear, as the necessary committees have not done the same level of work on crypto as their House counterparts.

From a macro view, the US has fallen behind other global jurisdictions in establishing crypto regulations, and while the House’s approval of FIT21 is a significant step forward, implementing comprehensive oversight of the digital asset markets is far from complete.

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