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Yellen Reportedly Urged Senators to Vote Against Crypto-Friendly Bill Draft 

Treasury Secretary Yellen has allegedly been pushing the Senate to go against the Wyden-Lummis-Toomey crypto amendment.

Shutterstock cover by Alexandros Michailidis

Key Takeaways

  • The crypto industry is lobbying the Senate to accept the Wyden-Lummis-Toomey crypto amendment to the infrastructure bill.
  • Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has reportedly been lobbying Senators against the amendment, pushing for the more stringent White House-backed provision.
  • The final vote on the amendment is due Saturday.

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Janet Yellen has reportedly been lobbying against the Wyden-Lummis-Toomey infrastructure bill amendment, possibly in an attempt to weaken the cryptocurrency sector.

Yellen Lobbies Senate Against Bill Amendment

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen allegedly used her influence to urge Senators not to accept the crypto-friendly amendment to the infrastructure bill.

Senators in Congress are currently deciding between two submitted amendments to the bipartisan infrastructure bill, one of which is pro-crypto, and another that could threaten the future of the sector. 

Senators Ron Wyden, Cynthia Lummis, and Pat Toomey presented an amendment draft to the $1 trillion bill this week, suggesting a definition of “broker” that would exclude miners, validators, protocol developers, and wallet creators. On Thursday, Senators Rob Portman and Mark Warner proposed a rival amendment that excludes only Proof-of-Work miners from the provision of the bill defining brokers. The crypto industry fears that the definition could leave room for DeFi developers and Proof-of-Stake validators to be labeled as brokers, meaning that they would have to follow stringent tax reporting rules.

According to two unnamed sources quoted in the Washington Post, Yellen lobbied lawmakers against supporting the competing crypto-friendly draft proposed by Wyden, Lummis, and Toomey on Wednesday. Their draft ceded ground to the intense lobbying from the crypto industry, suggesting a more favorable definition of “broker” that would exclude miners, validators, protocol developers, and wallet creators.

Portman, who is widely believed to be the author of the original crypto provision included in the bill, has already gained the official support of the White House. Yellen’s alleged support of the amendment would also match some of the views she’s previously held on the cryptocurrency space. Last month, she urged regulators to “act quickly” in response to the growth of stablecoins. 

Jake Chervinsky, General Counsel at Compound Labs, posted a tweet storm in which he wrote that “Word in DC is that this whole thing was [the] Treasury’s idea. They don’t like what we’re building & their solution is to obtain jurisdiction over non-custodial actors. They tried this via FinCEN’s proposed rule last year & failed. Now they’re trying again.”

Yellen also supported FinCEN’s controversial proposal on digital wallets earlier this year; it was frozen when Biden came into the White House. An attempt to convince the Senate to vote in the less crypto-friendly amendment to the bill could be a sign that Yellen is aiming to weaken the crypto sector.

Senators had hoped to pass the bipartisan bill Thursday night. However, the debate over the crypto-related amendments will likely stretch into the weekend, with the final voting expected to happen on Saturday.

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