Investors in the blockchain space have a message for U.S. regulators: clarity is needed.
During CoinDesk's Consensus 2018 conference on Monday, this idea was put forward by Future/Perfect Ventures founder and managing partner Jalak Jobanputra, ARK Invest CEO and chief investment officer Catherine Wood, and ConsenSys founding managing partner Kavita Gupta. Indeed, they all agreed that action in this area is needed – otherwise, innovative startups may look to friendlier shores.
"The faster the SEC moves, the faster it will be for businesses to stay in the United States," Gupta said.
Wood indicated that a lack of regulation was constraining would-be investment opportunities. More specifically, Wood said, she would like to see more bitcoin listings and token securities in the marketplace. At the same time, though, she's not confident that such activity will materialize in the current regulatory environment.
"Our regulators have to get their act together really," she said, going on to argue:
"We're going to see regulation mainly by prosecution."
Jobanputra, however, argued that the intervention by agencies like the CFTC and the SEC is unlikely to solve the industry's regulatory woes.
"It's going to be a mixture of the tech solutions as well as the rulings," she suggested.
The panelists also discussed their thoughts on blockchain investment opportunities. According to Jalak, both undeveloped and developed nations stand to benefit from the technology.
"There are a number of industries that are still not fully digitized in places like the United States," she said. "Blockchain technology can be applied to create more efficiencies in the developed world as well."
Wood, on the other hand, struck a bullish note on the tech's applicability, robotics and automation, artificial intelligence and deep learning, and energy.
"Almost everything that we're touching, blockchain will as well," she said.
Panel image by Annaliese Milano for CoinDesk