End-of-year US defense authorization bill leaves out crypto provisions

Quick Take

  • The US Congress released a final National Defense Authorization Act on Wednesday night, which authorizes appropriations for defense-related activities. The package does not include any crypto or blockchain provisions, punting legislation to next year. 

The U.S. Congress released a final National Defense Authorization Act on Wednesday night, which authorizes appropriations for defense-related activities, but the package does not include any crypto or blockchain provisions, said Cody Carbone, vice president of policy for the Chamber of Digital Commerce. 

The package excluded an amendment from Sens. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Roger Marshall, R-Kan., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., that would have required regulators to set up examination standards for financial institutions engaged in crypto activities while also requiring the Treasury Department to come up with recommendations to Congress on crypto mixers. 

Another provision would have created an independent working group to "combat terrorism and illicit financing." That bill was introduced in April by Sens. Ted Budd, R-N.C. and Gillibrand. 

"We're extremely disappointed that the FY24 NDAA failed to include bipartisan and common-sense digital asset and blockchain legislation," Carbone said. "This was a missed opportunity." 

Sen. Lummis said she was disappointed to see her illicit finance provision cut out of the NDAA and said Congress needs to "pass meaningful crypto asset legislation to provide robust consumer protections and create a well-regulated and safe crypto asset market in the United States." 

Lummis also said she planned her work to pass her bill with Sen. Gillibrand to regulate crypto.

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"I will continue to work tirelessly to pass the Lummis-Gillibrand Responsible Financial Innovation Act to ensure the United States remains the global financial leader," Lummis said in an emailed statement. 

Here comes 2024

Crypto legislation still faces some major headwinds in 2024 as lawmakers will try to push forward bills that would regulate stablecoins on the federal level and take a comprehensive approach to regulating crypto. Both bills passed out of the House Financial Services committee in July, but would need to be brought to the Senate Banking Committee, which could prove to be a challenge next year. 

Election season could also throw a wrench in plans, or could put crypto at the forefront. Republican presidential candidates have taken crypto stances, particularly when discussing central bank digital currencies. 

Updated at 12:30 p.m. ET to include comments from Sen. Lummis


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About Author

Sarah is a reporter at The Block covering policy, regulation and legal happenings. Before, Sarah was a reporter with CQ Legal writing about securities regulation, which is where she first started reporting on crypto. Sarah has also written for The Bond Buyer and American Banker, among other finance-related publications. She graduated from the University of Missouri and earned a degree in print and digital journalism. Sarah is based in Washington D.C., and is an avid coffee lover. You can follow her on Twitter @ForTheWynn.

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