Senate Debate on Cryptocurrency Regulation

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On the back of a shaky month of price volatility and drops in cryptocurrencies across the board, the U.S. Senate held a debate on Tuesday, looking at the regulatory landscape for the burgeoning asset class.

Jay Clayton, chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, responsible for protecting investors and regulating markets, took the position that further legislation was not presently necessary. Such legislation, he noted, would benefit main street investors who believe in the benefits arising from the technology. Overall, Clayton was “supportive of regulatory and policy efforts to bring clarity and fairness to this space”, but bookended his view on the basis that increased legislation would be acceptable where necessary or appropriate.

The debate was also attended by another major U.S. regulator, J. Christopher Giancarlo, chairman of the U.S. Commodities Futures Trading Commission. He gave an overview of the work already done by the CFTC in protecting U.S. investors, the LabCFTC, and emphasised that future regulation should not dissuade new generation investors from engaging with the markets, particularly when it has been shown that young Americans are enthusiastic about cryptocurrencies.

This was counterbalanced by concern from some senators that malicious players in the market possessed too much influence, as seen by the prevalence of scams and hacks. It is yet to be conclusively seen whether the SEC, CFTC and Federal Reserve will action future legislation, but the tone of the debate seems to be a measured, but optimistic outlook on cryptocurrencies, particularly in respect of their importance to distributed ledger technologies and further innovation and use cases in the field.





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