CFTC Chairman: America should Lead the Blockchain Space

Bitcoinist November 14, 2019
Updated 2019/11/14 at 11:15 AM
4 Min Read

The CFTC (Commodity Futures Trading Commission) Chairman, Heath Tarbert, wishes that the US would take a more active role in the cryptocurrency/blockchain space, although he recognizes that the industry lacks clarity.

The CFTC’s Heath Tarbert attended a conference this Tuesday, sharing his views on the state of the crypto/blockchain industry in the United States. According to him, the US should take a more active role in the space, and even take the lead, if possible.

The US’s regulatory landscape is fractured and uncertain, and the chairman believes that the issue lies in the fact that federal and state agencies are ‘jockeying for oversight’ of the markets. He believes that the environment needs to become more welcoming towards emerging technologies and innovation.

Tarbert also revealed that the desire to create a stable regulatory landscape came due to the CFTC’s employees’ choice to make ‘forward-looking’ one of the agency’s core values. To achieve the new goals, he admitted that the CFTC is communicating with the US SEC, almost on a daily basis.

Furthermore, the agency has been working on various questions regarding the digital assets space on an international level, with the Financial Stability Board, but also as a member of the Stability Oversight Council.

The importance of digital assets and blockchain technology

The chairman has revealed the CFTC’s new viewpoint on the digital assets and blockchain space, stating that this technology could bring ‘a fundamental transformational change’ to the financial system of the world. However, the agency also firmly believes that America needs to be the leader in the space, which is currently not the case. In fact, the US is being left behind while other countries, such as Japan, South Korea, Malta, Switzerland, and others, are making inroads in the area.

Tarbert certainly believes that the US has the means to become the leader in this sector and that Congress could answer some of the most important questions regarding the rise of digital assets. The chairman admitted that there were a few proposed bills that would have provided some much-needed clarity, but there was not a lot of movement in the area up to this point.

He even mentioned the CFTC’s Reauthorization Act of 2019, stating that it is a great step, although a very modest one, clearly indicating that he is not quite satisfied with its results. Even so, he still believes that the inclusion of digital assets as part of the Act is a meaningful signal.

CFTC and the SEC agree, but use different methods

When it comes to the SEC, however, the regulator has been relying on the Howey test to determine whether an asset is a security or not. This criterion has allowed the SEC to prosecute fraudulent ICOs dating back to 2017, but deemed Bitcoin and Ethereum were commodities. Tarbert agrees with this, and he proclaimed the same himself, back in early October.

However, he states that the CFTC’s assessment is based on a different approach and that the agency believes that decentralized digital assets are less likely to be securities.

What do you think about the chairman’s statements? Do you agree that America could and should change its views on crypto and blockchain by providing greater regulatory clarity? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Images via Shutterstock

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