Crypto may pose some risks to financial stability but may just need clearer guidelines rather than an entirely new set of rules, Christy Goldsmith Romero, a commissioner at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, said.
Still, during an appearance on CoinDesk TV’s “All About Bitcoin'' on Thursday, Goldsmith Romero said because digital assets are different than traditional financial products, “we have to be a little careful about going to bespoke treatments because we don’t know the consequences of doing so," explaining that officials should review the established ways of regulating traditional financial markets to see whether they can be applied to crypto.
Meanwhile, clarity from Congress would be “helpful” in defining which government agency should be responsible for regulating digital assets, Goldsmith Romero said.
“There’s a regulatory gap in that there is no one market regulator over bitcoin or other commodities [and] digital assets that are not securities,” she said.
The CFTC oversees futures markets of commodities, bonds and foreign-exchange products, while the Securities and Exchange Commission oversees securities markets, including those for stocks and bonds. It remains unclear which agency will regulate crypto spot markets, though it appears both agencies want to do that. The CFTC currently regulates crypto futures.
A bill introduced last month by Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (R-N.C.), which closely reflects the CFTC’s regulatory standards, gives the agency “comfort” that Congress is taking the right approach, Goldsmith Romero said.
In the meantime, she said, the agency is trying to provide clarity by setting out standards for crypto-based companies registering with the agency on the derivatives side.
“That sort of gives them an idea of what it’s like to be regulated,” she said, adding that if the agency were “to get additional authority on the spot market side,” it would look to apply a similar framework.
“The best thing that can happen is some clarity from Congress,” Goldsmith Romero said. “In the absence of that, we’ll continue to work with the SEC as it relates to swaps.”
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