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Stablecoin bill is a ‘no-brainer’ — Consensys director on US legislation


Amid ongoing campaigns for the elections in 2024, many United States lawmakers have not sealed the deal on legislation aimed at establishing regulatory clarity on aspects of the digital asset space, including stablecoins.

Speaking with Cointelegraph at the North American Blockchain Summit on Nov. 16, Consensys’ senior counsel and director of global regulatory matters, Bill Hughes, said it was “an exciting time in the policy world” as members of Congress considered which crypto bills they planned to support. Hughes said legislating on stablecoins should be a “no-brainer” for lawmakers once they resolve issues related to state-level regulators.

“Stablecoins are a huge part of the crypto ecosystem — it is one of the best use cases of blockchain technology,” said the Consensys director. “There’s just this one policy stumbling block which is holding stuff up.”

Hughes added that Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren’s crypto bill, aimed at cracking down on the illicit use of digital assets, may have support but was “problematic” in addressing Anti-Money Laundering. In contrast, the Clarity for Payment Stablecoins Act, introduced by House Financial Services Committee chair Patrick McHenry, was “pretty sensible, all things considered,” according to the Consensys director.

“Crypto has definitely become a political football of sorts in D.C.,” said Hughes. “There are obviously those that are outwardly and gleefully hostile. There are a lot who view it as an exciting space that needs to be given room to breathe while also being mindful that there are meaningful risks that may be rightfully the subject of federal policy.”

Like many in the space, Hughes expected that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission could give the green light to a spot Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded fund, or ETF, but didn’t rule out the regulator continuing to delay a decision:

“It wouldn’t surprise me if the Bitcoin ETF was finally allowed to go forward. […] There’s a huge supplier demand for it. […] The current rationale for not having one has been incoherent.”

Related: US House FSC to discuss illicit activity in crypto at upcoming hearing

Candidates for the 2024 presidential election, including Republican Vivek Ramaswamy and Independent Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., attended the North American Blockchain Summit and expressed their support for many crypto-related policies — an issue that largely hasn’t taken center stage at Republican Party debates. According to Hughes, crypto was “very much off the beaten path” regarding political issues and more likely to be represented in candidates’ views on wider-reaching issues like financial freedom and the size of government.

Magazine: Unstablecoins: Depegging, bank runs and other risks loom