In brief

  • The Digital Taxonomy Act and Blockchain Innovation Act were rolled into a third bill, the Consumer Safety Technology Act.
  • That bill was approved by the House of Representatives today.
  • The bill focuses on consumer protection, both in protecting the public against token scams and harnessing blockchain to stop fraud.

The Digital Taxonomy Act and Blockchain Innovation Act, both introduced by Representative Darren Soto, have been approved by voice vote in the House of Representatives.

The acts were rolled up into the Consumer Safety Technology Act (H.R. 8128), a bill directing the Consumer Product Safety Commission to explore applications for AI, earlier this month. If passed, the bill would take steps toward protecting the public against scammy projects while using blockchain to fight fraud.

The Digital Taxonomy Act directs the Federal Trade Commission, a consumer protection agency, to train up staff and allocate resources to identify and guard against “deceptive acts or practices involving digital tokens.”

It further mandates the agency to produce a report for the House Committee on Energy and Commerce as well as its Senate counterpart, the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, detailing its efforts to fight such deception and outlining actions it has taken.

The act frames digital tokens and blockchain as important for American innovation, and it asks the FTC for recommendations to ensure the US remains competitive while limiting abuse.

“As lawmakers, it’s our duty to ensure the United States continues to lead in blockchain technology,” said Rep. Soto in a press release. “The Digital Taxonomy Act adds greater jurisdictional clarity for a strong digital asset market in the United States.”

The Blockchain Innovation Act, also rolled into H.R. 8128, has a similar consumer protection approach. It requires the Secretary of Commerce to consult with the FTC and other agencies to produce a report on the benefits of using blockchain technology to combat fraud.

It asks the secretary to determine “best practices in facilitating public-private partnerships in blockchain technology” and ways in which “greater [regulatory] clarity would encourage domestic innovation.”

“Blockchain technology has an incredible amount of potential for innovation and economic growth,” said Soto. “I believe our government needs to support that growth, establish light-touch regulations to ensure certainty, protect innovation, stop fraud and enable its appropriate use for government, business and consumers.”

Blockchain and cryptocurrency bills have had a tough time getting through Congress. Darren Soto, a co-chair of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus, has introduced or co-sponsored multiple bills pertaining to digital assets. He co-sponsored two bills last week, the Digital Commodity Exchange Act and the Securities Clarity Act.

Both those bills would have major regulatory implications, but the congressman indicated he’s fine with small steps. 

“The study mandated by the Blockchain Innovation Act is a starting point meant to give government agencies a chance to make recommendations before any bills pass with a regulatory effect,” he said. “These recommendations will perform an educational function to Members of Congress and will pave the way for more actionable blockchain-focused legislation.”

H.R. 8128 will now make its way to the Senate.