On Wednesday, Senator Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) found a surprising way to develop her upcoming cryptocurrency regulation bill: she put it on GitHub.
“As promised, you can now comment on my bill establishing a framework for digital assets with [Sen. Gillibrand]Lummis wrote. in a tweet sharing the news. “Civil comments and criticism are welcome. Please share widely. We want to do things right. Help us publicly iterate on the policy.
Best known as an open-source code repository, GitHub includes a number of tools that might be useful for developing public proposals — particularly the ability to publicly comment, review, and split text into different versions.
As of press time, Github users have commented on 24 issues with the bill and made eight pull requests, some of which have offered meaningful 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 the algorithmic support of stablecoins.
However, the most common response was trolling. One reported issue is titled “You know you can find someone to find someone using Google, it’s true”. Another is titled only with the eggplant emoji.
In a related thread, one user commented, “Feds aren’t looking after the floppy disk,” along with a photo of a popular Russian caracal that has gained an internet following as “Big Floppa.”
The trolling also extends to commit requests, where a user offered to replace the bill with the source code for the popular first-person shooter Doom. “This bill would do much more to benefit ordinary Americans if its text were replaced with the Doom source code,” read a comment responding to the request. “Developers should merge as soon as possible.”
Introduced earlier this month by Lummis and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), the Responsible Financial Innovation Act would create a framework for regulators to determine whether a certain digital asset should be considered a commodity or a security when implementing new stablecoin provisions. Notably, the bill would put much of the regulatory authority over cryptocurrency in the hands of the Commodities Future Trading Authority (CFTC), significantly expanding the agency’s budget and authority.
The bill is still in its early stages and would need to be approved by several Senate committees before it can be fully voted on and passed. Nonetheless, it is one of the most comprehensive attempts by Congress to date to provide regulatory clarity in the controversial and often confusing world of cryptocurrency.
“Digital assets, blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies have seen phenomenal growth over the past few years and offer substantial potential benefits if properly leveraged,” Gillibrand said in a June 7 statement. “It’s critical that the United States take a leadership role in developing policy to regulate new financial products, while encouraging innovation and protecting consumers.”