Chips Bill provides for blockchain specialist position in White House science office

The United States House of Representatives passed the Chips and Science Act on Thursday by a vote of 243 to 187. The bill, which was introduced into the Senate over a year ago, provides grants and incentives to the semiconductor industry and encourages research. It also creates a blockchain and cryptocurrency specialist position in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).

The bill passed the Senate on Wednesday. It has an overall price tag of $280 billion, which includes $52 billion in grants and incentives for U.S. semiconductor manufacturers, who face fierce competition from China, and $170 billion in incentives for research. It is expected to contribute to the easing of supply chain issues in the industry as well.

️ Good news from DC: the Chips Bill just approved by Congress creates a dedicated @POTUS advisor on blockchain and web3 in the White House OSTP. Some of us have been pushing this for a long time. Big props to @RepDarrenSoto for the amendment that made it happen. pic.twitter.com/0V35cOubbH

— Tomicah Tillemann (@TomicahTD) July 29, 2022

Tucked into the lengthy “Miscellaneous Science and Technology Provisions” chapter of the bill is a section creating a blockchain and cryptocurrency specialist position in the OSTP to “advise the President on matters relating to blockchain and cryptocurrencies.” According to a statement released by Democratic Florida Representative Darren Soto, the language of that provision comes from a bill he introduced separately. Soto said in the statement:

“As a co-chair of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus and a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, I am proud to foster the policy needed to ensure innovation continues to take shape in our government and the CHIPS and Science Act will do just that.”

Soto has a long record of crypto advocacy. He was a co-sponsor with Republican Tom Emmer of the 2020 bill to exclude small purchases made with crypto from the capital gains tax. He and Emmer were also among the co-sponsors of the reintroduced Digital Commodity Exchange Act in April 2022. The OSTP was given a role in several of the initiatives mandated by President Joe Biden’s Executive Order on Ensuring Responsible Development of Digital Assets.