Industry Technology

CFTC Chair: Cryptocurrencies Have a Future, They Are Here to Stay

Nick Chong | October 2, 2018 | 10:00 am
CFTC
Industry

CFTC Chair: Cryptocurrencies Have a Future, They Are Here to Stay

Nick Chong | October 2, 2018 | 10:00 am

One of the most pertinent issues facing the cryptosphere today is regulation, as members of prominent governmental agencies, like the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), have yet to come to a unanimous opinion on how this nascent space should be regulated and managed. However, a leading member of the CFTC intends to amend this problem, recently outlining his thoughts on the crypto market and how regulators, like himself, should address it moving forward.

CFTC Chair Drops Hints On Crypto Asset Regulation

Chris Giancarlo, the chair of the US-based CFTC, recently sat down with CNBC’s Bob Pisani on the Fast Money segment to discuss his regulatory role in this industry.

Speaking from Washington D.C. at an event hosted by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA), Giancarlo, who hasn’t shied away from discussing crypto in the past, opened up his segment revealing that his regulatory body is hell-bent on curbing fraud and manipulation. The well-known regulator elaborated:

“We’re very focused on the fraud and manipulation aspects of cryptocurrency markets right now. In fact, last week, we just won a big victory in Boston federal courts that certifies our authority to prosecute fraud and manipulation in the crypto space and we’ve been very active at it.”

This isn’t any old statement, as the regulatory body has already proved its prowess at tackling crypto-related fraud cases, with the CFTC suing cryptocurrency startup My Big Coin on one occasion, and demanding for an illegal exchange service to cough up $2 million in fines on another occasion.

However, as alluded to by CNBC contributor Pisani, a heavy-handed regulatory approach may entice US-based startups to move overseas in a bid to remove all risk of regulator-imposed scrutiny. Giancarlo begged to differ, pointing out that it was a US firm that issued the first Bitcoin derivatives contract, which was approved by the CFTC, while other American institutions are ahead of the game when it comes to Bitcoin options and clearing techniques.

But as always, there is a fine line, with Giancarlo adding that there are “other areas of innovation” in crypto and blockchain that could flower under a “thoughtful and intelligent approach” from American regulatory bodies, such as the retail investor-focused SEC and institutional investor-focused CFTC.

Many unfairly criticize the two aforementioned agencies for hampering the development and maturation of the cryptocurrency industry, with cynics and steadfast decentralists believing that the SEC and CFTC are ousting crypto assets on purpose as to keep legacy markets stable. But as Giancarlo put it, “we’re old agencies. Our statutes were written in the 1980s, so we are operating off a 30-year-old piece of ‘software’, which we are trying to re-purpose for a new innovation that didn’t exist earlier.”

CNBC’s Pisani, sticking to the classic Fast Money script of asking for a prediction, went on to question Giancarlo to look into his crystal ball, so to speak, to give an outlook on where this market could head next. Remaining cautiously bullish, the CFTC chair predicted:

“I think that cryptocurrencies are here to stay. I think that there is a future for them. [But] I am not sure if they will ever come to rival the dollar or other hard currencies, but there is a whole section of the world that is hungry for functioning currencies, [like Bitcoin].”

While many bash regulators for their naivety towards crypto, the CFTC chair, interestingly enough, touches on the rise of decentralized, trustless, digital assets in unstable nations, which is a topic that is near and dear to many. So make no mistake, Giancarlo is working in favor of the crypto citizens of today, not against them.

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