‘Disastrous’ Biden-Backed Infrastructure Amendment Could Crush Cryptocurrency Industry

An Israeli holds a visual representation of the digital cryptocurrency Bitcoin, at the "Bitcoin Change" shop in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv on January 17, 2018. - At the end of 2017 Israel Securities Authority said it was moving to ban trading in cryptocurrency-based companies on the Tel Aviv …
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A “disastrous” amendment backed by President Joe Biden and proposed by Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Mark Warner (D-VA) could crush the cryptocurrency industry, lawmakers and industry officials say.

Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) proposed a $30 billion “pay for” in the $1.2 trillion, 2,702-page so-called “bipartisan” infrastructure bill. The provision contains an overly broad definition of a “broker” that many industry officials say could stifle innovation and send many American jobs overseas.

To address the issues surrounding Portman’s proposal, Sens. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) proposed an amendment that would address the concerns by stipulating that digital asset miners, who maintain the digital asset networks, and the creators of software and hardware used to self-custody digital assets, are not subject to IRS reporting requirements.

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), the ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee, also backed the Lummis-Wyden proposal.

However, despite the cryptocurrency industry’s strong support for the Lummis-Wyden-Toomey amendment, Portman and Warner proposed an alternative amendment that would address all issues with Portman’s original provision.

Jerry Brito, the executive director of the cryptocurrency think tank Coin Center, said the Portman-Warner amendment is “disastrous” and does not exclude software developers from onerous brokerage reporting requirements:

Brito said the Portman-Warner amendment would only exclude proof-of-work mining, which is used for bitcoin mining, and not proof-of-stake mining, which is used for Ethereum. Ethereum is the second most popular digital currency after Bitcoin.

The Blockchain Association also noted the amendment would compete with the Lummis-Wyden amendment and thus split Senate support for the Lummis-Wyden amendment:

Toomey affirmed how “disastrous” the Portman-Warner amendment could be for the cryptocurrency industry.

“He’s right,” Toomey said about Brito’s criticisms.

The Biden White House announced they would support the Portman-Warner proposal over the industry’s favored Lummis-Wyden amendment:

Reps. Ted Budd (R-NC), Warren Davidson (R-OH), Tom Emmer (R-MN), Darren Soto (R-FL), William Timmons (R-SC), and Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH) urged their Senate colleagues to back the Lummis-Wyden-Toomey amendment to “ensure innovation continues to thrive in America.”

Lummis urged her colleagues Thursday night to back her and Wyden’s amendment.

“Do what you say you’re going to do,” she charged. “Our amendment protects miners as well as hardware and software developers. The other does not. The choice is clear.”

Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.

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