Representative Darren Soto (D-FL) is busy setting the agenda for blockchain legislation in the new Congress.
A co-chair on the Congressional Blockchain Caucus, Soto will be familiar to The Block's readers for his work on industry-relevant legislation.
On Tuesday, Soto re-introduced the Blockchain Technology Coordination Act before the Committee on Energy and Commerce. The bill aims to establish a new office within the Department of Commerce that manages the use of blockchain in the federal government, outside of the military.
In a statement on the BTCA's re-introduction, Soto said:
"In order to ensure that the U.S. does not fall behind on research and development, we must embrace blockchain technology and explore all of the ways in which it can help our nation grow."
The bill's earlier incarnation hit the floor of the House on New Year's Eve of last year, as Congress was preparing for a changeover. After a turbulent first few months of 2021, and Soto's re-election, this may signal a thaw in legislation aiming to push crypto forward.
The new BTCA is the first of many bills that Soto has lined up for re-introduction. Members of Soto's team tell The Block that the Florida congressman plans to re-introduce the Digital Taxonomy Act and the Blockchain Innovation Act later this week, pending finalized drafts.
Further down the agenda, the team is preparing the U.S. Virtual Currency Market and Regulatory Competitiveness Act and Virtual Currency Consumer Protection Act for re-introduction.
These bills were introduced in 2019 and 2020. Some died in subcommittee, some passed in the House, but none made it to law. The coronavirus pandemic and chaos surrounding the election cycle pushed all other concerns off of the legislative calendar.
Having won re-election and facing a relative easing of crisis mode, Soto as well as other members of the Blockchain Caucus may see cause for optimism in getting such legislation through, especially given a general uptick in regulatory interest in cryptocurrencies and blockchain.
"We have seen the industry boom so much in the past year and there is a lot more engagement in this space," Soto said in a statement to The Block, referencing Senate initiatives and the passage of the Blockchain Innovation Act and the Digital Taxonomy Act in the House. He added "It is also important to note that the BTCA is a marker for a larger initiative that we are actively working on with stakeholders."