Posted February 23, 2018 05:21:52The US Senate on Tuesday voted to pass a measure to make it easier for American companies to buy and sell bitcoin, while also creating a regulatory environment to allow for more transparency and greater transparency in bitcoin and other virtual currencies.
The vote, which came in response to a letter sent to the Senate on Wednesday, was the first step in a push to open a bitcoin-focused exchange that could potentially be a vehicle for the US to take a more active role in the global digital currency market.
Under the bill, bitcoin exchanges would have to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission, pay a $250 fee, and report to the SEC on the amount of bitcoins traded.
Bitcoin companies would also have to provide the SEC with their annual financial statements.
The bill also creates a “virtual currency fund” and requires companies to disclose the total value of their virtual currency holdings.
The bill also provides for the creation of a Securities Exchange Commission task force to study and identify a regulatory framework for the industry.
The Senate also approved a version of the bill that would exempt certain types of virtual currency trading from state securities laws.
The Senate vote was 50-45 with three Democrats voting against it and three Republicans voting in favor.
The letter to the senators read in part: “The virtual currency industry is the fastest growing and most exciting emerging digital asset, and we need to ensure that our securities laws are appropriately written to reflect that reality.”
In the letter, Sen. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat who chairs the Senate Banking Committee, said the bill “adds a vital layer of oversight to the digital asset industry and allows the SEC to better monitor the virtual currency market to ensure compliance with the law.”
The legislation would also make it harder for virtual currency companies to engage in activities that violate their customers’ securities laws, such as facilitating money laundering.
The SEC and the SEC enforcement unit will be given greater authority to investigate virtual currency businesses, including those that engage in money laundering, said Manchin.
The legislation would expand the scope of the SEC’s authority to enforce the rules to include those that conduct activities with the intent of evading the securities laws and the money laundering rules.
The move comes after the SEC said it will review virtual currency investments more closely.
In February, the SEC filed a petition with the House of Representatives, calling for greater transparency around the virtual currencies markets and for more enforcement on the exchanges.
The SEC said at the time that it plans to expand its enforcement of virtual currencies to include investment companies, including virtual currency exchanges.
The proposal was first brought forward in February and was the subject of a public hearing on the Senate floor.
It was amended in March to include virtual currency investment companies that offer services to other investors.
The Financial Services Committee voted on Tuesday to vote on the bill as well.
The vote will be taken by voice vote.