AUSTIN, Texas – Rostin Behnam, chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), said Thursday that he is “very encouraged” that Congress is making moves to grant his agency more authority over digital asset markets.
“It’s just a positive momentum, I think, for the technology, for the industry, for the economy,” Behnam said at CoinDesk’s Consensus 2022 in Austin, Texas,. “There are unique coalitions getting together on this issue, which is very rare in Washington.”
The CFTC – typically seen as a friendlier option than the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to lead oversight of the industry – has been tackling a few policy questions, such as crypto exchange FTX’s bid to directly clear customers' derivatives, but it’s otherwise waiting for Congress to define its eventual role. That process took a major step earlier this week with the introduction of sweeping legislation from U.S. Sens. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.)
A key aspect of that effort, Behnam said, is the power it gives the CFTC to assess fees on the industry, which would pay for new staff at the agency.
“It allows us to essentially do our job,” he said. “We have to evolve with markets. We have to evolve with technology.”
The recent meltdown of TerraUSD (UST) shows the need for regulation, Behnam said, noting the “terrific fall in price” of the algorithmic stablecoin.
“It validates what has been said, what I’ve said, for the past couple of years,” he said. “We need to put guardrails around the space.”
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