The Responsible Financial Innovation Act introduced on Jun 7, 2022 includes a comprehensive regulatory framework for digital assets and seeks to provide clarity in how digital assets, such as cryptocurrencies, are treated under US securities law. The lynchpin of the bill is the codification of the US Supreme Court’s decades-old standard for determining when a financial offering is a “security,” i.e., the Howey test. If cryptocurrency is a “security,” then crypto-companies issuing them must comply with Securities and Exchange Commission rules for registration and reporting—failure to do so can lead to significant penalties, such as the $100 million SEC fine. issued by the SEC in 2021. However, many in the industry believe that cryptocurrencies act more like commodities than securities and would prefer them to be treated as such, subject to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s rules. The “security” vs. “commodity” debate has many practical implications for the cryptocurrency industry, as well as consumers, and is already heating up in Washington.
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