"Given the calendar, getting any piece of legislation through both houses is going to be a monumental task," said Perianne Boring, founder and chief executive officer of the Chamber of Digital Commerce trade group.
While most business sectors are fine with — or even lobby for — morass in Washington, the crypto industry has been pushing hard for new laws. They say Congress needs to step in because current American financial rules, and the government agencies enforcing them, are ill-equipped for digital assets.
Recent turmoil in the crypto markets, including the collapse of the popular algorithmic stablecoin terraUSD, have saddled investors with billions of dollars of losses and increased calls for Capitol Hill to act. In addition to a lack of regulatory clarity and failures in the market, the price of bitcoin — the world's largest cryptocurrency — has fallen by more than 50% since the beginning of the year.
Bitcoin's price of $19,853 at 10:08 a.m. New York time was down from a record of more than $68,000 last November.
Among the many bills under consideration, legislation to regulate crypto stablecoins and to give the Commodity Futures Trading Commission more power to oversee digital assets have gained the most traction. However, the bipartisan interest so far isn't translating into success.
For example, a stablecoin bill that's been privately negotiated for months by leaders of the House Financial Services Committee, with input from the Biden administration, has faltered as lobbyists and lawmaker staff remain locked in discussions. Sticking points include the role of state regulators and who should get accounts with the Federal Reserve that are typically reserved for banks, according to people familiar with the matter. Maxine Waters, the chairwoman of the committee, and Patrick McHenry, the panel's top Republican, didn't return requests for comment.
The lawmakers blew through a tentative date for a committee vote on the bill last month — in part because members still need time to understand the complex provisions in the latest draft. Republicans on the panel would also be in a better negotiating position if the chamber flips to their control in next month's elections.