Senator posts cryptocurrency bill on GitHub, chaos ensues

Senator posts cryptocurrency bill on GitHub, chaos ensues

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

“As promised, you can now comment on my bill creating a framework for digital assets [Sen. Gillibrand]’ Lummis wrote in a tweet sharing the news. “Civilized comments and criticism are welcome. Please share widely. We want to do this right. Help us iterate the policy publicly.”

Best known as a repository for open-source code, GitHub includes a number of tools that could be useful when developing public proposals — most notably the ability to publicly comment, revise, and share the text into different versions.

At press time, Github users have commented on 24 points of the bill and made eight pull requests — some of which have suggested useful additions to the bill. One user called on senators to “increase the value of proof-of-work cryptocurrencies with a mining tax.” Another thread raised concerns about algorithmic hedging of stablecoins.

However, the more common answer was trolling. A flagged issue is titled “You Know You Can Find Someone to Do Findom Using Google, Right”. Another is captioned just with the eggplant emoji.

In a related thread, a user commented, “Feds don’t look like floppa,” accompanied by a picture of a popular Russian caracal that has garnered an internet following under the moniker “Big Floppa.”

The trolling also extends to commit requests, where a user suggested replacing the invoice with the source code of popular first-person shooter Doom. “This law would be of much more use to Americans in everyday life if its text were replaced with Doom’s source code,” said a comment responding to the request. “Developers should merge as soon as possible.”

The Responsible Financial Innovation Act, introduced earlier this month by Lummis and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), would provide a framework for regulators to determine whether a given digital asset should be considered a commodity or security, while new stablecoin provisions are implemented. Notably, the bill would place much of the cryptocurrency regulator in the hands of the Commodities Futures Trading Authority (CFTC), significantly expanding the agency’s budget and powers.

The bill is still in its early stages and would need approval from multiple Senate committees before it could be fully voted on and go into effect. Nonetheless, it is one of Congress’s most sweeping attempts to date to bring regulatory clarity to the contentious and often confusing world of cryptocurrency.

“Digital assets, blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies have seen tremendous growth over the past few years and offer significant potential benefits if properly leveraged,” Gillibrand said in a June 7 statement. “It is critical that the United States play a leading role in developing policies to regulate new financial products while encouraging innovation and protecting consumers.”

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