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The House of Representatives has recently passed two bills that aim to significantly impact the regulatory landscape for digital assets in the United States. The Financial Innovation and Technology for the 21st Century Act, approved by a 279-136 vote, establishes guidelines for determining which tokens are securities or commodities and sets boundaries for regulatory agencies like the SEC and CFTC. The Central Bank Digital Currency Anti-Surveillance State Act, passed by a 216-192 margin, aims to prevent the Federal Reserve from creating a CBDC without congressional approval. This move has been seen as a major victory for the crypto industry, which has long awaited regulatory clarity.

Bipartisan support for the FIT21 bill has been notable, with former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Whip Katherine Clark among those backing the legislation. However, there were still a significant number of House Democrats who voted against the bill, indicating some skepticism from Democratic leaders. House Democratic leadership did not take a clear stance on FIT21, but several prominent figures like House Financial Services Committee Ranking Member Maxine Waters and House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member David Scott openly opposed the measure. The White House and SEC Chair Gary Gensler also voiced their opposition prior to the vote.

Despite the significant House support for the bills, it is expected that they will face challenges in the Senate. The upper chamber has shown less interest in addressing regulatory issues related to digital assets and has focused more on concerns related to illicit finance. While the House’s passage of these proposals puts pressure on the Senate to act, expectations for substantial progress in the remainder of the year are low due to the upcoming elections. The exclusion of stablecoin legislation in the recent House votes may indicate ongoing efforts to craft a proposal that garners broad support from both parties.

Stablecoin regulation remains a topic of interest in Congress, with the Senate mirroring the House proposal through recent bipartisan efforts. The prospects for passing meaningful crypto legislation this year largely hinge on stablecoin regulation. House Financial Services Committee Chair Patrick McHenry and others are still working to reach a compromise that will satisfy all parties involved. If an agreement is not reached, the stablecoin measure may still see a House floor vote, possibly before the August recess, but the timing could extend into the fall if negotiations progress positively.

The House-passed bills are seen as starting points for future crypto legislation, especially in chambers dominated by Republican majorities. If the GOP maintains control of the House, the next chair of the House Financial Services Committee will play a crucial role in determining the priority of crypto regulation. However, clearing the Senate may prove challenging given the need to secure 60 votes and the likely Republican seat count. While federal lawmakers are eager to regulate digital assets, issues related to market structure may be difficult to address at this time, making stablecoin regulation a more feasible avenue for legislative action. If stablecoin regulation is not achieved this year, it is likely to remain a key focus in the future, particularly under a unified Republican government in 2025.

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