Reps. Soto and Watson Coleman Announce Inclusion of Virtual Currency Price Manipulation Provision in Agriculture Appropriations Bill

June 6, 2019
Press Release
Language Directs the Commodities and Futures Trading Commission to Submit a Congressional Report on Strategies to Protect Investors

Congressman Darren Soto, a member of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, and Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, a member of the House Appropriations Committee, announced the inclusion of provisions in the fiscal year 2020 Agriculture Appropriations bill to monitor virtual currencies, including Bitcoin, for fraud and manipulation.

Mirroring legislation introduced by Reps. Watson Coleman and Soto, the Virtual Currency Consumer Protection Act, the appropriations language requires the Commodities and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to prepare a report for Congress on how to better protect virtual currency investors and promote American competitiveness.

“We continue to take bipartisan action in Congress to advance Blockchain technology,” said Rep. Darren Soto. “These innovative financial technologies have the profound potential to benefit society and be a driver of economic growth. It is crucial we continue to be informed on new initiatives and educate Congress and other government agencies on the impact of these emerging virtual currencies.”

“Virtual currency, and the blockchain technology that makes it possible, are a new economic frontier, and American investors can’t afford to be left behind or exploited by this burgeoning industry,” said Rep. Watson Coleman. “We need to identify strategies to protect American interests in this space and ensure we can continue to compete. This provision will  help us do that, and I’m pleased to see it’s inclusion in this bill.

The Virtual Currency Consumer Protection Act, a bipartisan bill authored by Rep. Soto and cosponsored by Congressmen Ted Budd (R-NC) and Warren Davidson (R-OH), directs the CFTC to describe aspects of how price manipulation could happen in virtual markets and then to make recommendations for regulatory changes that can improve the CFTC’s monitoring procedures in preventing price manipulation.

The FY 2020 Agriculture Appropriations bill sets funding for agencies including the Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration, and the CFTC. The virtual currency provision is included on page 83 of the report accompanying the bill.

 

A summary of the Agriculture Appropriations is here. The text of the bill is here. The bill report is here.