The House Financial Services Committee will increase its focus on cryptocurrencies, including stablecoins, in 2022, Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) told attendees of the ABA Washington Summit today. This focus will build on the committee’s prior activity, including a digital assets working group and a major hearing with digital asset firm CEOs in December 2021, she added.
“The banking industry must continue to innovate responsibly,” Waters said. “This is particularly true in the areas of digital assets. While crypto may provide new investment and payments options for traditionally underserved communities, and especially communities of color, the banking industry must consider the volatility of certain crypto products, like bitcoin, the lack of investor and consumer protections and the environmental impact of some resource-intensive crypto technologies before proceeding any further.”
Waters also said she is “concerned about the decline of de novo bank charters” and “troubled by the decline in minority depository institutions.” She highlighted the Treasury Department’s Emergency Capital Investment Program, which she championed. Waters also noted the committee’s passage of the bipartisan, ABA-backed H.R. 4590, introduced by Rep. Jake Auchincloss (D-Mass.), which would require the banking agencies to study and develop a plan to combat the challenges faced by MDIs, community development financial institutions and groups launching de novo banks.