Top Crypto CEOs Engage Lawmakers at Hearing
The cryptocurrency brain trust got a chance to speak in front of congress at a House Financial Services Committee hearing this week. A collection of six of the most influential CEOs in crypto passionately lobbied lawmakers to adopt a “mostly hands off” approach in terms of new regulatory measures being considered as Washington tries to determine how best to regulate a $3 trillion digital assets market – an environment that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has compared to the “Wild West.”
Since the inception of the cryptocurrency market a decade ago, it’s safe to say that a majority of the adults living in the U.S. now have a basic understanding of what cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum are, and 16% of them have actually invested in the digital assets – this is especially true for men in the 18 – 29 age bracket.
A Global Force for Good
The overall tone of the hearing was undoubtedly “pro-crypto” as there wasn’t a single detractor among the witnesses that did speak. Essentially, the crypto CEOs promoted the digital asset market as a global force for good and urged congress to lead the world in embracing it.
The talking points were many, but one of the most profound messages was that the technology powering the cryptocurrency market can not only expedite and cut the costs of financial transactions, but lawmakers were urged to look at blockchain technology as a “revolutionary innovation” that the U.S. could step in and lead globally…if it so chooses and with the right leadership in place.
During the hearing republicans and democrats both showed clear signs of skepticism toward the financial risks associated with the cryptocurrency market, but it was the Republicans who sided with the CEOs in their viewing the approach that the SEC has taken toward the industry as being “distasteful,” at best. The recent clashes between the SEC and major crypto firms are well documented as agency chair, Gary Gensler, has long tried to paint digital assets as a security or a type of investment contract that merits SEC regulatory oversight.
Cryptocurrency Leaders Disagree
A future in which the SEC would actually be considered for regulatory oversight means a clear misinterpretation of the market by lawmakers. Their argument against SEC regulation rests on the fact that blockchain tokens are not securities but rather digital property or a way to record ownership. Clearly, we are still very early in the regulatory process if the two sides still haven’t been able come up with a list of agreed-upon definitions for key terms like “what is a digital asset?”
All of the rifts discussed at the hearing could be a signal that it may still take years to put together a solid and permanent regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies, but there were very specific comments that would give cryptocurrency investors hope.
For example, Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), poised to chair the committee if the GOP wins back the House, said it is a priority to ensure that the "cryptocurrency revolution" happens in the U.S. rather than overseas.
Hopefully, lawmakers will take McHenry’s advice.
Author: Greyson Kelly
Greyson Kelly is a business writer living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He writes extensively on technological trends, cryptocurrency, and ‘cutting edge’ industry topics. He has an MBA in Business and has over a decade of experience in communications and public relations.