August 05, 2021

Toomey Insists on Senate Vote on Digital Asset Amendment

Failure to Adopt Amendment Could Have Chilling Effect on Development of Digital Asset Technology

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senate Banking Committee Ranking Member Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) spoke on the Senate floor this afternoon advocating for a vote on an amendment to protect cryptocurrency activity from a hasty change in law. The bipartisan amendment, which Senator Toomey introduced along with Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), would clarify the definition of “broker” with respect to who must report information about the buyer, seller, and price of a digital asset transaction.


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Key Excerpts

“I want to address an opportunity that we have to fix a flaw in a provision in this infrastructure bill. I want to thank my colleague from Oregon and our colleague from Wyoming. The three of us have been working on this and I really hope we get this done. I’m going to insist on having a vote on this.”

“Mr. President, I just mention these two things just to provide a little tiny glimpse and illustration of the kinds of amazing things that I think this underlying technology is capable of and is likely going to change the way we do an awful lot of things in the coming years.”

“We want to require these exchanges to have the same kind of reporting requirements that a conventional broker would have when a security is bought. In other words, we want the folks who run the exchange to report the name, some identifying number, the dollar amount. All of this is because people buying and selling these cryptocurrencies are generating capital gains and losses.”

“It’s an asset. If you sell it later after a gain, you should have to pay a capital gain of the asset. If you lost money, then you ought to be able to take the loss against gains you may have elsewhere. It is completely reasonable to have a provision that requires the reporting of the transaction. That, I think, is the intent of this legislation. But unfortunately, the way it got drafted . . . the language would impose this reporting requirement on people involved in the cryptocurrency world who don’t even have the information about the person making the purchase or the sale.”

“The good news is, it can be fixed. Senator Wyden and Senator Lummis and I have come up with language that fixes this problem. It would make sure that the reporting requirement on a centralized exchange . . . would in fact have to report it.”

“Our amendment addresses this, it fixes this, it solves this problem, it achieves the intent. And we’re having a little trouble getting the ability to offer this as an amendment here on the Senate floor.”

“I welcome debate and I welcome a vote, but we ought to be able to have a vote. We absolutely should have this debate and have a vote before we go ahead and impose this requirement. And if we were not to adopt this amendment, then we could be doing a lot of damage. We could have a very chilling effect on the development of this technology, and that’s what I’m most concerned about. That’s what I want to avoid.”

“This technology is very, very exciting, and has tremendous potential. The last thing we should do is allow a flawed drafting exercise to have this chilling effect on the further development of this technology.”