In brief

  • A Senator who owns Bitcoin is hopeful bipartisan support will lead to a "de minimis" crypto tax exemption.
  • The CEO of crypto storage Anchorage said state governments have a new interest in owning crypto.

Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wy) expressed hope on Wednesday that Congress will be able to reform the tax rules governing cryptocurrency, which have been a longtime bugbear for Bitcoin owners and the burgeoning crypto industry.

"We're optimistic we can find bipartisan agreement on that issue," said Lummis during a meeting with crypto executives and policy makers on the social media app Clubhouse.

The comment from Lummis, who has owned Bitcoin since 2013, came in response to a question about whether Congress will pass a proposed law calling for a "de minimis" tax exemption for small cryptocurrency transactions.

Currently, IRS guidance stipulates that any minor crypto transaction—such as sending $5 worth of Bitcoin to a friend or using it to buy a cup of coffee—can amount to a capital gains event. Critics say this rule creates needless tax headaches, and discourages innovation by limiting the use of crypto in day-to-day transactions.

And while the IRS has become preoccupied with collecting tax on crypto—a question about virtual currency is now at the top of filers' income tax return—the agency has done little to simplify the process for reporting it.

Lummis's interest could help accelerate the passage of crypto tax reform, which has been proposed in bills before the House of Representatives, but never in the Senate. Lummis, whose home state of Wyoming has branded itself as a crypto hub, also pointed to a new Financial Innovation Caucus she is leading with Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Az) as evidence of bipartisan interest in the issue.

Policy researchers on the Clubhouse call cautioned, however, that passage of crypto legislation is unlikely to occur in the near future. The Biden Administration and Congress is currently wrangling over weighty issues related to the pandemic and economic stimulus, so crypto taxation—a relatively boutique issue—is unlikely to be a high priority.

More broadly, members of the call noted that lawmakers are becoming more knowledgable about cryptocurrency, and not only at the federal level.

Nathan McCauley, the CEO of crypto storage service Anchorage, said that his company has been speaking with several state governments about adding crypto to their treasuries—a move that would mirror what big private sector companies like Tesla and Square have done in recent months.

McCauley suggested the states' interest in crypto is related to a search for alternate finance and investing options at a time when bond markets are in a prolonged slump.