Cryptocurrency is property, a commodity, or a security depending on which watchdog you talk to in the United States. That’s created a confusing dynamic, to say the least. But the good news is that the powers-that-be are coming to the crypto space’s heavyweights and asking for a regulatory dialogue. So it could be worse: they could be boxing us out altogether.
Subscribe to the Bitsonline YouTube channel for more great interviews featuring industry insiders & experts
Regulators Reaching Out
America’s regulators are putting their feelers out into the cryptoverse.
To that end, ConsenSys — founded by Ethereum co-founder Joe Lubin — is a “venture production studio” in the Ethereum ecosystem, having their hands in a little bit of everything at the moment. Their native projects are too many to list, but their work ranges from blockchain world-building play Cellarius to decentralized newsroom Civil and loads more in-between.
And now, it looks like Commodities Futures Trading Commission Chairman (CFTC) Christopher Giancarlo — a recent darling of the space — reached out to ConsenSys to ask for their opinions on what regulatory oversight could or should look like in the ecosystem. That’s per Matt Corva, a lawyer with ConsenSys:
@ConsenSys is pleased to submit our response to @CFTC's request for comment. We advocate for a flexible approach that recognizes the versatility of tokens (not just currency) and systems that promote consumer safety. TY for hearing us @giancarloCFTC. https://t.co/X67I33jNty
— Matt Corva (@MattCorva) March 21, 2018
As Corva highlights, in the organization’s official response they advocate for regulatory flexibility and an emphasis on consumer safety.
It’s this kind of dialogue that makes crypto’s chances of hitting the mainstream in America better and better.
Coinbase Says: Regulators Already Have Authority
Speaking of dialogue, last week Coinbase Chief Legal Officer Mike Lempres testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Securities, and Investment.
In his testimony, Lempres notably argued that there’s no need for a new, crypto-specific regulatory body in the United States, as he — and Coinbase in extension — argue that the regulatory watchdogs that already exist have the requisite purview.
An interesting assertion, to be sure, and one that goes counter against an increasingly popular thread in the space as of late, namely the sentiment that the SEC and CFTC are inadequate and that a new agency is needed for crypto altogether.
Because of this — the clusterfrack of US gov agencies all contradicting one another this week — I now think crypto needs a completely new agency and set of regulations. Existing agencies and laws simply don't work.
— Mark Jeffrey ⚡️🚀 (@markjeffrey) March 10, 2018
So there’s no telling how this situation all plays out from here. But, on the bright side, it looks like America’s regulators are wanting collaboration.
What’s your take? Are your for, or against, regulating crypto? Sound off in the comments below.
Images via Quartz, LinkedIn