US representatives ask Mnuchin to extend comment period for proposed wallet rule to traditional 60 days

Eight members of Congress have sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin expressing concern over the shortened comment period for the Treasury's recently proposed rule for virtual currency transactions.

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking that would require more stringent know-your-customer and reporting measures for exchanges, cracking down on anonymous transacting and self-hosted wallet activity. In its notice, it provided for a 15 day comment period as opposed to the traditional 60 days for significant proposed rules. 

Now, Reps. Tom Emmer, David Schweikert, Warren Davidson, Ted Budd, Bill Foster, Darren Soto, Susan DelBene and Tulsi Gabbard have signed a letter to Mnuchin, with FinCEN Director Kenneth Blanco cc'ed, asking the office to extend the period to 60 days. If the rule is implemented, the letter also asks FinCEN to consider a six month extension of implementation to allow stakeholders to find solutions to the upcoming rule. 

"This is a highly complex rulemaking as the 24 detailed questions that FinCEN asks in the notice attest," said the letter. "It would be impossible for the public to give meaningful comment with so little time, and a rushed process threatens the legitimacy of this rule. It also makes the new regulations very susceptible to legal challenges."

Coinbase lodged similar grievances with FinCEN in a letter to the regulator. It asked FinCEN to extend the comment period to 60 days in order to address the 24 questions it posed to stakeholders, saying haste over a holiday period was a departure from the productive working relationship the exchange has come to expect from the regulator. Lawmakers also referenced the end of year holiday timing of the proposed rule. 

"The proposal in question was made public just before the Christmas holiday, and it announced that the public would be afforded 15 days to file comments," said the letter. "A comment period consisting of eight business days over two holidays is not appropriate for regulating any industry, and could result in stakeholders being unable to meaningfully respond."

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