Last week was marked by two new legislative initiatives for the crypto industry in the United States. Senator Jack Reed sponsored a bipartisan bill that would tighten Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regulations and sanctions requirements for decentralized finance (DeFi). The bill would subject DeFi operations to the same requirements as “other financial companies, including centralized crypto trading platforms, casinos, and even pawn shops.”
Two major crypto lobbying groups slammed the legislation: Coin Center and the Blockchain Association. The former released separate statements describing the legislation as a “messy,” “unworkable” and “unconstitutional” way of regulating DeFi. Kristin Smith, the CEO of the Blockchain Association, echoed Coin Center’s concerns and described the new legislation as redundant. Smith said federal law enforcement agencies already have the tools and expertise to combat this “relatively small but important issue.”
Republican House Agriculture and House Financial Services Committee members introduced the Financial Innovation and Technology for the 21st Century Act. The bill gives the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) jurisdiction over digital commodities, clarifies the authority of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and creates a process for digital assets deemed initially securities to be sold as commodities. Representatives French Hill and Dusty Johnson, who are among the bill’s cosponsors, sent a letter to SEC Chair Gary Gensler a day before the bill’s introduction criticizing the agency’s so-called “regulation by enforcement” of the crypto industry.
Multiple spot crypto ETF applications go to Federal Register
Spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) applications from several firms have been published in the Federal Register, moving them one step along in the SEC process. The Federal Register received notices of proposed rule changes allowing Bitcoin ETF applications from BlackRock, Fidelity, Invesco Galaxy, VanEck and WisdomTree. Publishing the applications in the official journal of the U.S. government gives the SEC a window of opportunity to accept or reject the request, extend the time allowed or open the application for public comment.
Kuwait bans crypto and virtual asset transactions
The state of Kuwait is the latest jurisdiction to ban virtually all operations involving cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC). Kuwait’s main financial regulator, the Capital Markets Authority (CMA), issued a circular on the supervision and issuance of virtual assets in the country. In the circular, the CMA confirmed the commitment to “absolute prohibition” on major use cases and operations involving cryptocurrencies, including payments, investments and mining. The circular also bans local regulators from issuing licenses allowing firms to provide virtual asset services as a commercial business.
Marathon shareholders file lawsuit against company’s top management
U.S.-based crypto mining company Marathon Digital is heading to court after its shareholders alleged that its CEO Fred Thiel, alongside other top executives, breached fiduciary duties, unjustly enriched themselves and wasted corporate assets. According to the legal team, the company’s management has been downplaying its problems, artificially inflating Marathon’s valuation, receiving excessive compensation, making lucrative insider sales, and receiving unjustifiably elevated bonuses based on false and misleading statements.
The shareholders aim to correct the company’s governance by strengthening the board’s supervision of operations, nominating at least four candidates from shareholders to the board and eliminating the previous procedure of directors’ elections.