Emmer introduced the original bill at the beginning of 2019. With slight edits, the new version aims to provide the same sort of safe harbor for blockchain firms that do not hold customer assets, which developing guidance threatens with registration as money services businesses. In a statement on the announcement, Emmer said:
"Certain blockchain developers and service providers, like miners and multisignature service providers, should not have to register as money transmitters because they never custody consumer funds."
This issue has become more pressing with the emergence of decentralized finance last summer. Congressional members expressed concern that developing guidance from the Financial Action Task Force would classify many DeFi operators as virtual asset service providers.
The topic of sparing certain types of crypto businesses from potentially burdensome regulation is a potent one given the recent fight over tax reporting requirements in the Senate. Supportive lawmakers and advocacy groups fought what they called unfair language in a bipartisan infrastructure bill. Ultimately, efforts to carve out compromise amendments failed as that chamber cleared the infrastructure bill. The fight has now shifted to the House, though the contours of that process and what changes are possible remains an open question.
Crypto interest groups have endorsed the latest legislative effort, with support coming from groups like the Chamber of Digital Commerce, Coin Center and the Blockchain Association.
The text of the BRCA can be found below: