CFTC commissioner calls for regulating cryptos "with an open mind"

27 Oct, 2018
by David Robb
CFTC commissioner calls for regulating cryptos with an open mind

A representative from the Commodity Futures and Trading Commission recently gave an introductory speech at the 2018 ISDA Japan Conference in Tokyo. Commissioner Rostin Behnam devoted a big part of what he said to cryptocurrency and other fintech innovations, saying that regulators need to approach them "with an open mind".

Behnam said that he was "surprised by the amount of time I spent examining issues related to bitcoin, crypto assets, distributed ledger technology (DLT), artificial intelligence, and cloud-based programming" over the course of his first year at the CFTC.

He insisted that staying aware of cryptocurrencies and other fintech was important to his role, as he didn't want to be "a regulator scurrying to keep pace with swift innovations that capture market efficiencies, open markets to new products and participants, and often reward those willing to take risk".

Behnam didn't deny the need for due caution, claiming that most crypto and fintech pioneers "cannot describe—or maybe haven’t even considered—the risks.  And this is critical...if innovators want access to financial networks". However, he was enthusiastic about new technology, in particular blockchainm, asking his audience "to think about all the possible use cases for DLT from agriculture to healthcare, finance to art, CryptoKitties to Dogecoin.  These innovations are more than just technology: They inspire us to find solutions for every problem or hurdle we encounter—and sometimes, they are just fun."

Read more: Chairman says the CFTC has been looking at crypto since 2015CFTC Chairman: Crypto won't replace the dollar but it may replace other currencies

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