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Infrastructure Deal Puts Cryptocurrencies in Washington’s Cross Hairs

  • July 30, 2021

Some cryptocurrency brokers already report their transactions to the I.R.S., but most do not because of ambiguity in the existing law.

The cryptocurrency industry contends that it wants more regulatory clarity, but some of its members warn that the far-reaching definition of a broker could have unintended consequences.

Perianne Boring, president of the Chamber of Digital Commerce, a lobbying group, said the legislation was being drafted too quickly. She argued that by defining cryptocurrency brokers so broadly, it could impose disclosure requirements on everyone involved in the industry, from the “miners” who make digital money to technology developers and investors.

Saddling participants in the industry with regulations that they may be unable to comply with, Ms. Boring suggested, would most likely undermine the goal of the bill.

“This can have a pretty significant impact on the development of some of the most important areas of innovation or will likely kill part of the industry or drive it overseas,” she said. “We should be embracing this technology, not regulating it out of existence.”

With regulators circling the industry, cryptocurrency firms have been stocking up on high-priced lobbyists to help shape the coming rules.

This week, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen urging her to mobilize the Financial Stability Oversight Council, which she leads, to coordinate a strategy to “mitigate the growing risks that cryptocurrencies pose to the financial system.” Ms. Warren is particularly concerned about the threat that they pose to banks and the growing exposure to cryptocurrencies at investment vehicles such as hedge funds.

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