Congress is getting more serious about cryptocurrency.
Members of the House plan to introduce two bills on Thursday to prevent fraud, protect consumers and make sure the country doesn't fall behind as a leader in the global digital asset class.
The bipartisan bills don't give specific recipes for how to achieve those goals. Instead, they ask the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to come up with recommendations.
"Virtual currencies and the underlying blockchain technology has a profound potential to be a driver of economic growth," Reps. Darren Soto, D-Fla., and Ted Budd, R-N.C., said in a statement. "That's why we must ensure that the United States is at the forefront of protecting consumers and the financial well-being of virtual currency investors, while also promoting an environment of innovation to maximize the potential of these technological advances."
Any cryptocurrency legislation marks a certain maturity in these markets.
While bitcoin itself has been around for a decade, the cryptocurrency fundraising method known as initial coin offerings began attracting billions of dollars from retail investors at the end of last year. Regulators and lawmakers were caught unprepared as many ICOs turned out to be frauds, backed merely by abstract ideas or in some cases nothing at all.
Bitcoin's price soared to almost $20,000 amid the mad dash to own digital currency last year, but since then has lost more than 75 percent of its value. It dropped37 percent in November alone.