Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., said this week that “the time is now” to start proposing legislation to regulate cryptocurrencies, as digital assets only continue to grow in popularity in the United States.

At the Washington Post’s “The Evolution of Money: Cryptocurrency” event on March 29, Rep. Himes noted that most of the players in the cryptocurrency industry would agree that “it’s time to establish some Federal baseline regulation so that people understand the rules.”

“The time is now for us to start floating proposals around regulating cryptocurrencies,” Rep. Himes said. “The time is now because I think we’re at a point now where the problems in cryptocurrency are going to get bigger. I don’t worry too much about systemic risk for something where the market cap is roughly $2 trillion. It’s fragmented, but we’re getting there.”

Rep. Himes acknowledged that legislation is most likely not going to pass this year – with only months left and an election to go – but he believes putting policy proposals forward now will only help to aid crypto education efforts.

“There’s a long process of education, there’s a long process of legislating that needs to occur, but now is the time for us to move from this educational phase of understanding what in the world a cryptocurrency is, which, you know, two years ago would have drawn a lot of blank stares around here, to actually putting forward policy proposals,” Rep. Himes said.

Rep. Himes, who serves as the chair of the National Security, International Development and Monetary Policy Subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee, noted that he’s “very proud” of Congress’ take-up of the cryptocurrency topic in the last couple of years, including proposals in the Senate from both sides of the aisle.

“You’re starting to see proposals now,” he said. “Over in the Senate, you’ve got people as diverse in their political views as Senator Cynthia Lummis [R-Wyo.] and Senator Elizabeth Warren [D-Mass.] putting forward proposals, similar things here in the House, and that’s a good thing, right, because that’s going to focus our attention on specific proposals and move the ball forward.”

“The innovations in order to move forward in this country,” such as cryptocurrencies, “will benefit from a clear and uniform Federal standard,” he added.

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is MeriTalk's Assistant Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.