US Congress seeks answers on crypto regulation from Yellen


  • Members of the US Congress have sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, calling for clarity on cryptocurrency regulation and the application of the Howey Test.
  • The letter, supported by leading figures such as Patrick McHenry and Glenn Thompson, questions the SEC’s approach to classifying digital assets.
  • Congress expresses concern that the SEC’s current methodology may not adequately protect investors in the rapidly evolving crypto market.

Members of the US Congress have raised concerns over Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s recent calls for enhanced cryptocurrency regulation. A letter seeking clarity on the regulatory framework for digital assets has been sent to Yellen, indicating a critical examination of the current approaches to crypto regulation.

This letter, backed by prominent figures such as House Financial Services Committee Chair Patrick McHenry, House Agriculture Committee Chair Glenn Thompson, and Representatives French Hill and Dusty Johnson, emphasizes the need for a detailed understanding of the regulatory roles and the effectiveness of the Howey Test in consumer protection.

Regulatory clarity and the howey test

The congressmen’s letter to Secretary Yellen highlights a request for explicit clarification regarding the role of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the digital asset space, particularly concerning the application of the Howey Test. This test is a standard method for determining whether transactions qualify as investment contracts and, therefore, should be considered securities under U.S. law.

The letter points out SEC Chair Gary Gensler’s stance that most crypto tokens likely meet the criteria of the investment contract test. Yet, it raises concerns over the SEC’s retrospective evaluation of transactions. According to the letter, this approach may not sufficiently protect investors, as it occurs after transactions have been completed.

Moreover, the letter addresses the need for a comprehensive regulatory framework that includes digital assets like Bitcoin and Ether, which may not fall under the SEC’s jurisdiction. The congressmen question the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC)’s classification of these cryptocurrencies and seek clarity on their regulatory status.

FTX collapse sparks regulatory concerns

The push for tighter regulation by Yellen follows the collapse of FTX, a major cryptocurrency exchange, which exposed significant vulnerabilities within the crypto industry. During her testimony before the House Financial Services Committee, Yellen emphasized that US Congress must enact legislation governing stablecoins and the spot market for non-security crypto assets. She pointed out the regulatory gaps, particularly the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) lack of authority over spot markets, which poses risks to consumer protection and financial stability.

Yellen has advocated for a dedicated legislative framework to manage the risks associated with stablecoins, highlighting them as a potential threat to the financial system. Her call for regulatory enhancements is part of a broader effort to secure the financial ecosystem from the unpredictable nature of cryptocurrencies.

US Congress awaits Yellen’s response

The letter from the congressmen sets a deadline of February 20 for Yellen to respond, underscoring the urgency for clear regulatory guidance. This initiative reflects the ongoing debate among regulatory bodies and legislators on how to regulate the cryptocurrency market. The goal is to balance fostering innovation and ensuring consumer protection and financial stability.

The dialogue initiated by the US Congress with Secretary Yellen marks a critical step towards addressing the challenges the burgeoning cryptocurrency industry poses. As the market evolves, the need for a clear, comprehensive regulatory framework becomes increasingly apparent. The outcome of this exchange may significantly influence the future regulatory landscape for digital assets in the United States.

Disclaimer. The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decision.

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Mutuma Maxwell

Maxwell especially enjoys penning pieces about blockchain and cryptocurrency. He started his venture into blogging in 2020, later focusing on the world of cryptocurrencies. His life's work is to introduce the concept of decentralization to people worldwide.

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