Rep. Darren Soto, D-Fla., along with Christy Goldsmith Romero, a newly appointed commissioner of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), today urged Congress to provide regulatory clarity on the growing cryptocurrency and blockchain industries.

During an Axios event today – held amid the recent trend of falling crypto prices – Rep. Soto said the existing laws surrounding the crypto industry are “antiquated” and are long overdue for an update.

“I’d wave a magic wand tomorrow and start defining these things,” Rep. Soto said at the event, referring to legislation that would begin to aim toward tighter regulatory definitions of various digital assets.

“Congress needs to act to pass some comprehensive laws to be able to help establish where the agencies should have their scope of jurisdiction. And, in addition, to make sure to foster that innovation,” he added. “Our job is to pass new laws to evolve to what society has.”

Goldsmith Romero also shared Rep. Soto’s urgency to pass legislation, saying the CFTC currently “doesn’t have any regulatory authority.”

“We’ve got a pretty sizable market that’s largely unregulated – regulators just have no window into it,” Goldsmith Romero said. “I am certainly of the opinion that I would like Congress to act to close the regulatory gap and give the CFTC greater authority beyond our anti-fraud authority into the spot market.”

Goldsmith Romero explained that while President Biden’s executive order (EO) aims at addressing the risks and benefits of digital assets and “recognizes the need for a regulatory framework,” it requires congressional authority to be comprehensive.

“My biggest concern is that if regulation fails to keep pace with technology, the most vulnerable people are going to be hurt,” she added.

Rep. Soto, who serves as the co-chair of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus, introduced the Digital Taxonomy Act and the Token Taxonomy Act last year, along with Rep. Warren Davidson, R-Ohio. Although those bills have not become law, the congressman said President Biden used a lot of the legislation’s language in the EO.

As for the crypto bill introduced in the Senate last week by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Cynthia Lummis, R-Wy., Rep. Soto said the House agrees “broadly” with some of the bill’s ideas. However, he said “[we] certainly have our own ideas in the House and we need to reconcile those eventually.”

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is MeriTalk's Assistant Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.