Cryptocurrency Bill Stalls, Veto Session Possibility Remains


Following multiple federal and state lawsuits filed against cryptocurrency companies, an Illinois bill which seeks to regulate digital assets such as Bitcoin and Ethereum could soon be put to vote. House Bill 3479 had received Republican support in the House in April, with a 90-21 vote. The bill is being workshopped over the summer with the aim of voting upon it during the veto session in October. According to the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Mark Walker, D-Arlington Heights, it has been in the works for two years. This was prompted after the bankruptcy of major crypto companies such as FTX last November, which highlighted the need for fiscal stability in the industry.

Rep. Walker stated that stability within these products and companies would add stability to the entire banking system, and thus avoid the need for bailouts. The bill is being spearheaded in the Senate by Sen. Laura Ellman, D-Naperville. Despite not being voted upon in the Senate Assignments Committee, she believes it is important to give consumers a greater sense of the risks involved in investments, in order to foster trust between all parties.

HB 3479 seeks to create the Uniform Money Transmission Modernization Act and Digital Assets Regulation Act, where the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation Secretary would issue annual licenses and regulate digital asset business activity. Licensees found in violation could receive cease and desist orders and penalties of up-to $1,000 per violation. For the bill to go into effect immediately after the governor signs it into law, a three-fifths voting majority is required from the Senate.

However, the bill has met with opposition from Chicago-based Global DCA, which believes it goes too far and has a too broad definition of what a digital asset is. The Illinois Credit Union League also moved its stance from opponent to neutral after an amendment was added to clarify that the regulations would not apply to credit unions. On Tuesday, the Illinois Secretary of State office announced it would join nine other states in filing a lawsuit against crypto exchange platform Coinbase Global. The suit claims Coinbase did not register its staking offerings with the SOS Securities Department, thus keeping investors in the dark regarding the risks involved.

Overall, the bill looks to provide a sound, legal, and regulatory environment for digital assets, with the aim of protecting consumers and investors. Rep. Walker believes the bill is on the pathway to achieving this. Nevertheless, there is still a lot of work to be done.

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