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Senator posts cryptocurrency bill on GitHub, chaos ensues

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On Wednesday, Senator Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) found a surprising way to develop her upcoming cryptocurrency regulation bill: She said on GitHub

“As promised, you can now comment on my bill establishing a digital asset framework with [Sen. Gillibrand]”, wrote Lummis in a tweet sharing the news† “Civic comments and criticism welcome. Please share widely. We want to get this right. Help us to publicly repeat the policy.”

Best known as an open source code repository, GitHub includes a number of tools that can be helpful in developing public proposals — most notably the ability to publicly comment on the text, revise it, and split it into different versions .

As of going to press, Github users have commented on 24 issues in the bill and submitted eight pull requests, some of which have suggested meaningful additions to the bill. An user asked the senators to “increase the value of proof-of-work cryptocurrencies with a mining tax.” Another thread raised concerns about algorithmic support for stablecoins.

The most common response, however, is trolling. One highlighted problem is titled, “You know you can find someone to do Findom with Google, right.” Another is titled only with the eggplant emoji.

In a related thread, one user noted, “Feds don’t watch post-floppa,” accompanied by a photo of a popular Russian caracal that has gained internet followings under the name “Big Floppa.”

The trolling also extends to commit requests, where a user suggested replacing the account with the source code of the popular first-person shooter Doom. “This bill would benefit ordinary Americans much more if the text were replaced with Doom’s source code,” reads a response to the request. “Devs need to merge ASAP.”

The Responsible Financial Innovation Act, introduced earlier this month by Lummis and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), would create a framework for regulators to determine whether a particular digital asset should be considered a commodity or security, while new stablecoin provisions be implemented. Notably, the bill would put much of the regulatory authority over cryptocurrency in the hands of the Commodities Future Trading Authority (CFTC), significantly expanding the agency’s budget and authority.

The bill is still in its early stages and would need to be approved by several Senate committees before it could see a full vote and bill. Nevertheless, it is one of Congress’ most comprehensive efforts to date to bring regulatory clarity to the controversial and often confusing world of cryptocurrency.

“Digital assets, blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies have experienced tremendous growth in recent years and offer substantial potential benefits if used correctly,” said Gillibrand. in a statement dated June 7† “It is critical that the United States plays a leading role in developing policies to regulate new financial products, while also encouraging innovation and protecting consumers.”


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