A global alliance for advancing innovation and inclusion of cryptocurrency is recognizing U.S. Rep. Darren Soto of Orlando as one of nearly 30 members of Congress working to lead America into a “vibrant digital future.”
The Crypto Council for Innovation, which launched in April 2021 to advocate for crypto-inclusive policies across the globe, held its inaugural Digital Future Award event Tuesday in Washington.
Twenty-nine members of Congress from both sides of the political aisle received awards. Soto was the lone member from Florida to be recognized.
“The Crypto Council is recognizing members of Congress who are first movers, leading the way on a complex and nuanced set of issues,” Crypto Council CEO Sheila Warren said in a statement.
“It’s going to take a broad effort to build and secure the foundation for our digital future. A growth-oriented approach to regulation and public policy will help us realize the promise of digital assets for all, and we commend these leaders for their support and engagement.”
Soto is one of the most vocal supporters of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology working in Congress today. Alongside fellow Democratic U.S. Rep. Bill Foster of Illinois and Republican U.S. Reps. Tom Emmer and David Schweikert, he serves as co-Chair of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus.
The Crypto Council also gave Digital Future awards to Emmer and Schweikert.
Soto has also backed numerous proposals around blockchain technology, including the Digital Taxonomy Act and Blockchain Innovation Act, both of which were absorbed into the Consumer Safety Technology Act that cleared the House in 2020.
Shortly after the pandemic struck, he spearheaded an effort to use a blockchain platform to streamline the distribution of stimulus funds. A bipartisan group of 10 other Representatives joined Soto co-signed a letter Soto sent to then-Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin on the matter.
Later that year, his re-election campaign began accepting crypto donations via BitPay, a bitcoin payment service provider headquartered in Atlanta. Soto, who faces Republican Scotty Moore in the Nov. 8 General Election, still accepts such contributions today.
Other elected leaders in Florida backing crypto include U.S. Reps. Kat Cammack and Byron Donalds — who in April announced the formation of a Central Florida cryptocurrency legislative caucus with Soto, state Sens. Randolph Bracy and Linda Stewart and state Reps. Kamia Brown and Travaris McCurdy — as well as Miami-Dade County Commissioner Danielle Cohen Higgins, Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez.
Gov. Ron DeSantis has shown favor to crypto as well. In May, he signed a law defining the term “virtual currency” that upon taking effect Jan. 1, 2023, will upend a 2019 court ruling preventing people who own bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies from selling them without a license.
Miami Republican Rep. Vance Aloupis sponsored the measure in the Florida House, where it passed unanimously. Republican Sen. Jason Brodeur of Sanford sponsored its Senate companion, which cleared the Legislature’s upper chamber with only Panama City Republican Sen. Georgie Gainer voting “no.”
Other Digital Future Award recipients this year included:
— Republican U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee
— Democratic U.S. Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey
— Republican U.S. Sen. John Boozman of Arizona
— Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas
— Republican U.S. Sen. Steve Daines of Montana
— Democratic U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York
— Republican U.S. Sen. Bill Hagerty of Tennessee
— Republican U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming
— Democratic U.S. Sen. Krysten Sinema of Arizona
— Democratic U.S. Sen. John Thune of South Dakota
— Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania
— Republican U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama
— Democratic U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon
— Democratic U.S. Rep. Jake Auchincloss of Massachusetts
— Democratic U.S. Rep. Joyce Beatty of Ohio
— Republican U.S. Rep. Ted Budd of North Carolina
— Republican U.S. Rep. Warren Davidson of Ohio
— Democratic U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey
— Republican U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie of Kentucky
— Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga of Michigan
— Democratic U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna of California
— Democratic U.S. Rep. Doris Matsui of California
— Republican U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina
— Republican U.S. Rep. G.T. Thompson of Pennsylvania
— Democratic U.S. Rep. Ritchie Torres of New York
— Democratic U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters of California