Rostin Behnam, chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, along with Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., said Congress may pass its first law on regulating digital assets within a matter of months.
"As we look forward to the next couple of months, I think it's possible we might see some legislation," Mr. Behnam said Friday at the Financial Markets Quality Conference, hosted by the Psaros Center for Financial Markets and Policy at Georgetown University. "But my hope is that by next year, 2023, the sort of fulfillment of this project, in many respects, is complete."
Mr. Behnam previously expressed his support for the Digital Commodities Consumer Protection Act, a bipartisan bill introduced in August by leaders of the Senate Agriculture Committee, at a hearing in September. The bill would give the CFTC jurisdiction over the trading of digital commodities.
"We worked very closely in providing technical assistance to that committee," Mr. Behnam said Friday.
Sens. Lummis and Gillibrand introduced their own bill, The Lummis-Gillibrand Responsible Financial Innovation Act, in June, which addresses multiple aspects of regulation, including CFTC authority over digital commodities, stablecoin regulation and the taxation of digital assets. Stablecoins are cryptocurrencies pegged to another currency or commodity, such as the U.S. dollar.
Ms. Gillibrand, who also serves on the Senate Agriculture Committee, said the DCCPA is largely a reflection of their bill, calling it one part of their larger package. She said that bill could see a vote by the end of the year, and also predicted that some parts of the package may pass in the near future.
"Maybe within six months, parts of it are passed," Ms. Gillibrand said in a pre-recorded interview shown at the conference Friday. "That would be great if we had that done within six months."
Ms. Lummis agreed, adding that if the DCCPA passes first, for example, then you might see other laws addressing crypto regulation pass soon after.
"I think six months from now, we actually will see at least part of this on the president's desk," she said.
Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and co-sponsor of the DCCPA, previously told Pensions & Investments that he expects the bill to pass this year.
"Every day that goes by that I don't have authority is a day that a customer is at risk of losing money," Mr. Behnam said.