Ex-CFTC Head Says Regulators Can Engage With Crypto 'if They Have the Will to Do So'

Chris Giancarlo's remarks come as crypto businesses argue U.S. regulators have been too vague heading into this year's crackdown.

AccessTimeIconApr 26, 2023 at 10:04 p.m. UTC
Updated Apr 27, 2023 at 2:42 p.m. UTC

AUSTIN, Texas – Chris Giancarlo, the former senior U.S. markets cop known as "Crypto Dad," appeared to criticize his successors in Washington, D.C., as they crack down on the cryptocurrency industry.

Under Giancarlo's watch as chairman, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission in 2017 approved regulated futures contracts tied to bitcoin (BTC) and, to this day, they remain the only fully regulated crypto product traded in the U.S., he said during a speech Wednesday at CoinDesk's Consensus 2023 event.

Their success, he added, is "proof that regulators can engage successfully with crypto if they have the will to do so."

While not an overt complaint about the current regime in Washington, the comments did stand out as U.S. markets regulators get tougher on crypto. Members of the industry have argued regulators have been too vague on how they view the business and how current laws apply – if at all. Just this week, Coinbase, the biggest U.S. crypto exchange, asked a court to compel the Securities and Exchange Commission to finally respond to its request for greater clarity.

Giancarlo is co-chair of law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher's digital works practice. He published a book in 2021 titled "CryptoDad: The Fight for the Future of Money."

He discussed other topics, including stablecoins. He said the U.S. House Financial Services Committee committed a "grave oversight" by not including a single word about privacy in the stablecoin bill reintroduced earlier this month.

The blockchains that power digital currencies – whether bitcoin, a stablecoin or another privately issued one or a government-issued central bank digital currency (CBDC) – contain massive amounts of data on the behavior of users, which has caused some people to be concerned about the privacy implications, Giancarlo said.

"Therefore, Florida Gov. [and possible Republican U.S. presidential candidate] Ron DeSantis is not wrong to be concerned" about the misuse of "stockpiles of financial data wreaking havoc on financial privacy and economic liberty," he added. Last month, DeSantis introduced a legislative proposal that would prohibit the use of a CBDC as money within his state.

UPDATE (April 26, 2023, 22:21 UTC): Adds comments about stablecoins and Ron DeSantis.

Edited by Aoyon Ashraf.


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