May 24, 2024 - Economy

The crypto industry's big Washington week

Illustration of a digital coin rising from the horizon with beams of light around it

Illustration: Natalie Peeples/Axios

The crypto world is having a breakthrough moment in Washington.

Why it matters: While the White House still seems highly skeptical of crypto, the legislature — and former President Trump — seem to be coming around.

  • As an anonymous House staffer told Axios: "Congress let crypto out of the penalty box."

The big picture: The young industry, which has long been at odds with regulators, is making headway in its major campaign to turn crypto into a more mainstream financial asset.

  • Two words sum up crypto's D.C. lobbying campaign: "regulatory clarity," which backers argue would give them more confidence to innovate, invest and operate.

Where it stands: Just in the past week...

  • The SEC approved exchange-traded funds for ether on Thursday. (It OK'd bitcoin ETFs in January.)
  • Trump announced he'd be accepting crypto for campaign donations.
  • The House passed a major piece of legislation, called FIT21, seeking to clearly define the SEC's role in regulating crypto.

And last week, both houses of Congress voted to quash a crypto-related rule from the SEC.

Between the lines: Trump's comments at a Mar-a-Lago event for supporters who bought his NFTs earlier this month reignited crypto as a campaign issue.

  • When asked about industry firms leaving the U.S., he replied: "I don't want that."
  • He told crypto supporters they "better vote" for him because of the Biden administration's crackdown.

Yes, but: The White House has pushed back. President Biden has said he'll veto the resolution to overturn the SEC guidance (though he hasn't done so yet). He also issued a statement opposing FIT21.

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