Senator Cynthia Lummis Outlines Forthcoming Bipartisan Bitcoin Bill

  • Marco Santori and Cynthia Lummis had a fireside chat at the Bitcoin 2022 conference to discuss evolving legislation on Bitcoin that Lummis has been working on.
  • Lummis was joined by Marco Santori, a digital asset scholar among lawyers and serves as chief legal officer for Kraken, a cryptocurrency exchange.
  • Lummis also shared perspective on how politicians view the potential of a Federal Reserve central bank digital currency (CBDC).

During Bitcoin 2022, U.S. Senator Cynthia Lummis offered details on a bipartisan bill, The Responsible Financial Innovation Act, that she hopes will establish favorable Bitcoin regulation during a fireside chat with Marco Santori, the chief legal officer of Kraken.

“It’s truly a legislative framework that we hope will provide the sandbox for innovation to occur but also put some regulatory parameters, so you all know the rules of the road,” Lummis explained. “It includes privacy components, consumer protection components, taxation components…”

There becomes an obvious burden as nation states recognize the success of Bitcoin and attempt to apply existing regulations to govern its use or create new laws to do so. In the U.S., Lummis shared that she sees legislators becoming increasingly open to the idea of passing favorable rules catered to Bitcoin that would foster innovation in the country.

“There were concerns about whether bitcoin and digital asset exchanges would participate in sanctions [on Russia], and they have, and they have been robust players,” Lummis noted. “For most members of Congress, this has been abstract for a long time… That has changed dramatically in the last 12 months and part of it is thanks to you all.”

Legislation and the cryptocurrency space have been increasingly at odds for some time now. In July 2021, for instance, Bitcoiners were abruptly disturbed on a late-Wednesday night as the announcement of a new infrastructure bill in the U.S. looked to require that know-your-customer (KYC) reporting criteria be collected on people sending over $10,000 in bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. The pseudonymic nature of bitcoin prevents this kind of information from ever being collected, which raised concerns, and suddenly it seemed, Bitcoiners became highly political.

“It became very apparent to us and to all of you that Congress might mess this up.” Lummis said as she addressed the Bitcoin 2022 crowd. “And so we tried to fast forward and craft legislation even though we would have preferred to do more education for a while.”

Lummis became ecstatic as she discussed new members of congress joining her efforts towards smart legislation for bitcoin.

“Just about a month ago, Senator Kristen Gilibrand of New York decided to take an interest in this bill and she just threw herself into it,” Lummis said. “It’s so fabulous.”

As more politicians become more informed about bitcoin, Santori asked what the latest developments toward a U.S. central bank digital currency (CBDC) might be.

“Not very many people are thinking about it and for a long time it’s been just about trying to evaluate the pros and cons,” Lummis answered. “But one of the things that’s helping to define the debate is the digital yuan… It’s being used as a tool for surveillance, and the U.S. Senate is aware of that. And the Fed by the way, is aware of that.”

Lummis alleviated the concerns of many in the crowd as she explained that, “If there is a digital product that is direct to consumer, it would be a stablecoin, as opposed to a CBDC direct to consumer. I think that’s a much more American way of adopting this technology as backed by the U.S. dollar.”

Lummis then turned away from the American stage, and allowed a global lens to tell the tale of bitcoin.

“We had a witness [in the U.S. Senate] who was in Ukraine and we asked him, ‘Would you rather receive help in bitcoin or in fiat currency’” she explained. “He said, ‘We can have Americans send us bitcoin today and we’re spending it on medicine, on water, on food and on protection the next day. We could never do that with fiat currency.'”

Bitcoin 2022 is part of the Bitcoin Event Series hosted by BTC Inc, the parent company of Bitcoin Magazine.