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Senate ACCEPT resolution would require Capitol vendors to accept crypto payments

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(Kitco News) - While U.S. regulators continue to turn up the heat on the crypto industry, some lawmakers are pushing for the adoption of cryptocurrency in the very heart of the Federal government.

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) submitted a resolution on Jan. 25 that would require food service and vending machine contractors to accept payment in cryptocurrency.

The “Adopting Cryptocurrency in Congress as an Exchange of Payment for Transactions” or ACCEPT resolution would require “the Architect of the Capitol, the Secretary of the Senate, and the Chief Administrative Officer of the House of Representatives to contract with food service contractors and vending machine contractors for the Capitol complex that accept cryptocurrency, and for other purposes.”

The resolution defines a digital asset as “a natively electronic asset that is recorded on a cryptographically secured distributed ledger; and is designed to confer only economic or access rights.” This definition would cover not just Bitcoin but virtually all cryptocurrencies.

It asks the Architect of the Capitol, the Secretary of the Senate, and the Chief Administrative Officer of the House of Representatives to “solicit and enter into contracts to provide food service and vending machines … with persons that will accept digital assets as payment for goods,” and to also “encourage the gift shops” to do the same for the Capitol Buildings that are under their respective jurisdictions.

The resolution also contains a clause that would prevent them from entering into any contracts that “would preclude the selection of alternatives that are cost-effective and value-centered for patrons.”

The ACCEPT resolution was referred to the Committee on Rules and Administration for consideration, and it would need to be passed by the Senate and the House before going into effect.

The Senate has been a battleground for both proponents and detractors of crypto in recent months, and the implosion of the FTX cryptocurrency exchange has only raised the stakes.

Thursday, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ron Wyden sent a letter to the U.S. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) questioning why auditing firms working with FTX failed to identify the corporate mismanagement and lack of internal controls that have been discovered since its implosion.

“When PCAOB-registered auditors perform sham audits – even for firms that may lay outside of the PCAOB’s jurisdiction – they tarnish the credibility of the PCAOB," wrote Warren and Wyden.

Prior to its collapse and subsequent bankruptcy filing in November, FTX claimed to have undergone audits by Armanino and Prager Metis, both of which are registered with the PCAOB.

On Nov. 10, the day before FTX declared bankruptcy, U.S. Senator John Boozman, ranking member of the United States Senate Agriculture Committee, announced that he and Committee chair Sen. Debbie Stabenow remained committed to pushing forward with a final version of the Digital Commodities Consumer Protection Act 2022 (DCCPA).

“The events that have transpired this week reinforce the clear need for greater federal oversight of the digital asset industry,” Boozman wrote. “That has been our goal since we began drafting the Digital Commodities Consumer Protection Act of 2022.”

The senator characterized the DCCPA as “a robust bill that aims to bring transparency and accountability to the market,” and said that the committee is reviewing it in light of FTX “to ensure it establishes the necessary safeguards the digital commodities market desperately needs.” The DCCPA bill was first introduced on Aug. 3. 2022.

Erstwhile FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried was a strong proponent of the bill, and attended Senate DCCPA hearings, which many believe hurts its chances for passage. In order to become law, the DCCPA would need to make it out of the House and be passed by the Senate before being signed by President Joe Biden.

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