Lawrence Zlatkin, global VP of tax at Coinbase, has taken aim at the rushed cryptocurrency provisions added to Congress’ bipartisan infrastructure bill “at the last minute,” slamming lawmakers for hastily inserting amendments that could impact “60 million Americans.”
In a Saturday blog post taking aim at a Thursday, Aug. 19, editorial article from Bloomberg that praised the infrastructure bill’s crypto provisions, Zlatkin criticized the lack of opportunity for public discourse regarding the legislation, estimating that 20% of the United States population are invested in digital assets:
“Today, around 60 million Americans own crypto — roughly one-fifth of the entire U.S. population. Those Americans, and the entire crypto ecosystem, deserve more dialogue than midnight provisions inserted at the last minute.”
Zlatkin noted that outrage over the bill’s language extended beyond the confines of the crypto industry, noting estimates that the popular “public outcry” saw senators contacted by nearly 80,000 people within “just a few days.”
In particular, the Coinbase executive highlighted the broad definition of a digital asset “broker” included in the bill — which could impose strict reporting requirements on network validators and software developers who would be unable to comply with their obligations under the bill in its current form.
“As long as the statute says that software developers, miners, stakers must do the impossible, there is no lawyer who would advise them to risk operating in violation of laws whose penalties for non-compliance would easily bankrupt them,” he said, adding:
“This will harm innovation and stifle the potential of a hugely important technology at its earliest stages of development [...] Tax policy should be thoughtful and deliberate. Broad overreach is a regulatory mistake.”
Zlatkin added that digital asset brokers should be subjected to the same third-party reporting requirements as mainstream brokerage firms.
The controversial infrastructure bill passed the Senate earlier this month, and onlookers are hopeful there may be opportunities to amend the legislation as it moves to the House for scrutiny in the coming months.