Regulation

US crypto regulation happening ‘behind closed doors’ — Blockchain Association CEO

The United States Congress needs to take control of crypto legislation and make it a more “open process” where the entire marketplace is looked at “comprehensively,” suggests Kristin Smith, CEO of the Blockchain Association — a prominent U.S. crypto industry nonprofit.

In a Feb. 22 Bloomberg interview, Smith said the industry needs U.S. lawmakers to lead crypto legislation despite it making the process “very slow,” with regulators “stepping in” in the interim.

Smith noted that despite regulators “moving very quickly,” progress on legislation is happening “behind closed doors,” suggesting it’s vital for more industry involvement in an “open process,” which would involve Congress.

Smith believes the issue with regulators leading legislation with enforcement actions and settlements relates to “very specific facts and circumstances.”

She explained it’s a difficult position for Congress at the moment, as many in Washington D.C. who “were close” to former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried and FTX feel “burned” and “betrayed” over the collapse of the cryptocurrency exchange in November 2022.

Smith is hopeful that stablecoin regulation will soon happen in the U.S., saying Congress has been looking at it “since 2019” and the “work has been done.” She said it “came close” to happening last year before the collapse of FTX.

Related: FTX poked the bear and the bear is pissed — O’Leary on the crypto crackdown

She added that crypto risks are different from traditional financial services, so regulators must spend more time looking at market regulation and “tailor to those risks.”

Smith suggested that stablecoin and “market side” regulation should be a higher priority than focusing on legislating crypto-related criminal activity, saying that public ledgers make it “much more transparent” than we see in the traditional financial system.

This comes after the Blockchain Association’s chief policy officer, Jake Chervinsky, took to Twitter on Feb. 15, stating that no matter how many enforcement actions the Securities and Exchange Commission and Commodity Futures Trading Commission bring, they are “bound by legal reality,” adding that “neither” has the authority to “comprehensively regulate crypto.”

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