Cryptocurrency Industry Wins Concessions in Infrastructure Bill

The New York Times
The New York Times August 3, 2021
Updated 2021/08/03 at 7:32 PM
2 Min Read

A last-minute lobbying push by the cryptocurrency industry to change language in the bipartisan infrastructure bill[1] that was finalized over the weekend succeeded in scaling back some of the scrutiny that participants in the sector will face from the I.R.S.

The final legislative text included some changes to alleviate concerns of the cryptocurrency industry, which expressed alarm last week about new requirements that would define most of the participants in the sector as brokers and force them to turn over information to the I.R.S. The provision was projected to raise $28 billion over a decade.

After receiving pushback from cryptocurrency lobbyists[2], lawmakers revised that section of the bill to “clarify” the definition of a broker rather than expand upon it.

The legislation also removed language that explicitly targeted “any decentralized exchange or peer-to-peer marketplace.” It replaced that with a broader definition that characterizes brokers as anyone “responsible for regularly providing any service effectuating transfers of digital assets on behalf of another person.”

The cryptocurrency industry has been adamant that the tougher tax enforcement should not apply to miners, or creators, of digital money, or the “node operators” that keep the software behind transactions moving.

Lobbyists were continuing to press senators for greater clarity to ensure that those parts of the nascent sector would be excluded from the law. They believe that they have assurances from top lawmakers, such as Senator Rob Portman, Republican of Ohio, about the intent of the law, but they are still seeking similar assurances from the Treasury Department, which will have broad discretion to implement the law if it is passed and signed by President Biden.

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