Decrypt’s Art, Fashion, and Entertainment Hub.
A bipartisan bill dubbed the “Token Taxonomy Act,” brought into the House by Congressmen Darren Soto (D-Fla) and Warren Davidson (R-Ohio), seeks to change the definition of laws governing securities so that cryptocurrencies—and ICO token sales—no longer qualify.
It comes after a push from institutional investors—including Wall Street giants Nasdaq, Andreessen Horowitz, and Fidelity—making inroads into the cryptocurrency space.
Specifically, the bill defines a “digital token” as a new, separate asset class—distinct from, say, a stock or bond. By introducing the bill, Davidson hopes to repeat the legislative successes of the “early days of the Internet,” in which the government didn’t “over-regulate.”
A deference to laws drafted in the 1930s to govern stocks and bonds has, in the past few months, led the Securities and Exchange Commission to aggressively treat almost every cryptocurrency—bar the “sufficiently decentralized” Ethereum, among scant others—as a security. Subsequently, a crackdown on startups peddling “unregistered securities” cast a pall over much of late 2018.
The bill, if it goes through, would not exempt tokens from regulation entirely. Instead, regulatory oversight could shift to the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, or the Federal Trade Commission. It's also worth that adding that Congress closes for the year from next week (If not forever). This means the bill (according to CNBC) is “largely symbolic,” at least for the moment. But wait until Santa gets a read of it.
Indian émigrés looking to send money back to the Motherland but dismayed at transaction fees need worry no further—Facebook is here to help. According to sources cited by Bloomberg, the tech giant is building its very own “stablecoin,” which would allow users of its WhatsApp messaging platform to send micro-payments to one another.
Bloomberg says it plans to first roll out the platform in India, where there are 200 million WhatsApp users and $69 billion worth of homebound yearly remittances. An odd move from the government, since it seems intent on trying to bury crypto alive.
It’s not clear how Facebook will keep the stablecoin...stable, but, rest assured, it has a plan to introduce “custody assets, or regular currencies that would be held to protect the value,” according to Bloomberg. Kind of like Tether, then, which is... optimistic. Regardless; if all goes according to plan, we can probably look forward to Facebook putting Russian propaganda on the blockchain, and tokenizing its 2 billion (and dwindling!) users for "sharing."
Hmmmmmm. Venture capitalist/PayPal founder/wild-eyed Trumpster Peter Thiel is still bullish on blockchain. Do we like that? Not really. And not that we can do anything about it. Thiel just poured $2.1 million into Layer1, a company that funds and develops “programmable money and store-of-value applications.” He's previously supported Tagomi Systems inc, a bitcoin trading startup, and is known to be long on crypto. Again, not that we're criticizing. We're just going to slink quietly back into our corner. Thanks, and have a good day.