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What to Expect When Congress Talks Crypto (Twice) Tomorrow

It’s a crypto doubleheader on Capitol Hill tomorrow.

Two U.S. House of Representatives Committees will be hosting hearings on Wednesday to look at the topic from two distinct angles.

The House Committee on Agriculture will focus on the emergence of “digital assets” while the Financial Policy Subcommittee hearing will examine “the extent to which the United States government should consider cryptocurrencies as money,” as previously reported.

According to new information published Tuesday, the Agriculture Committee hearing will notably see former JPMorgan blockchain lead and current CEO of Clovyr Amber Baldet, former Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) chairman Gary Gensler and Andreessen Horowitz managing partner Scott Kupor, among others, testify.

“This hearing will shed light on the promise of digital assets and the regulatory challenges facing this new asset class. Our committee has a deep interest in promoting strong markets for commodities of all types, including those emerging through new technology,” Rep. Michael Conaway, chairman of the committee, said in a statement.

By contrast, the Financial Services hearing seems to be tackling the broader question of what cryptocurrencies are exactly. According to a memo detailing the hearing’s goals, members “will evaluate the merits of any uses by central banks of cryptocurrencies, and discuss the future of both cryptocurrencies and physical cash.”

As of press time, none of the committee members contacted by CoinDesk responded to requests for comment, leaving the question of sentiment around the topics an open one ahead of the hearings.

Yet as for what those tuning in can expect, one might want to refer to the last few times Congress tackled the subject.

Back in March, for example, a hearing on initial coin offerings – likely to emerge during the testimonies tomorrow – saw lawmakers argue for greater protections while Representative Tom Emmer called for more regulatory restraint. A hearing in May saw lawmakers discuss the “almost limitless” applications of the tech, to borrow a phrase from one Department of Homeland Security official.

Luckily for those hoping to follow the action, the hearings – which will be live streamed – are spaced out throughout the day. The Agriculture Committee’s gathering is set for 10 a.m. EDT, with the Financial Services Committee’s hearing scheduled for 2 p.m. EDT. B

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Congress Is Now Holding Two Crypto Hearings This Wednesday

Congress is set to hold not one but two separate hearings related to cryptocurrencies on Wednesday.

Last week, CoinDesk reported that the House Committee on Financial Services will gather this week to discuss the subject, with this particular hearing honing in on the question of crypto as a new form of money. A memo published since that news first broke notably states that members will examine “the extent to which the U.S. government should consider cryptocurrencies as money and the potential domestic and global uses for cryptocurrencies.”

That same day, the House Agriculture Committee will hold a hearing entitled “Cryptocurrencies: Oversight of New Assets in the Digital Age.” In a statement, chairman Michael Conaway explained that the hearing seeks to “shed light on the promise of digital assets and the regulatory challenges facing this new asset class.”

It’s a noteworthy statement, declaring that at least some in the U.S. national legislature hold the view that cryptocurrencies constitute a new kind of asset.

“Our committee has a deep interest in promoting strong markets for commodities of all types, including those emerging through new technology,” Conaway added.

Together, the hearings represent a double-header of sorts, and CoinDesk has confirmed both hearings will be live-streamed from Capitol Hill, Washington, DC. The Agriculture Committee hearing will take place at 10 a.m. EST while the Financial Services Committee’s hearing will occur at 2 p.m. EST.

According to the Financial Services Committee memo, the witnesses set to appear are: Dr. Rodney Garratt of University of California Santa Barbara; Dr. Norbert Michel of the Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis; Dr. Eswar Prasad, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution; and Mr. Alex Pollock, a senior fellow for the R Street Institute.

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The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.