An influx of institutional investors to the cryptocurrency markets may help the space “mature,” U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission chair J. Christopher Giancarlo said Friday.
The regulator discussed his agency’s efforts to regulate the cryptocurrency space with Fox Business, noting that there has been an increase in movement into the space, which he stated would help grow and evolve the market.
“We’re seeing more institutional movement into this area,” he said. “I think with more institutional movement we should see more maturation of [the crypto markets].”
He went on to add:
“We’ve still got a long way to go, there’s a lot of issues in some of these spot exchanges, a lack of transparency, a lot of conflict of interest, a lack of systems and systems safeguards, and that’s a concern. But you know, like all things, it takes time to mature, and with the movement of more institutional investors into the space, I think we’ll see that [maturation].”
Giancarlo also discussed his agency’s efforts to regulate the cryptocurrency derivatives markets, saying the CFTC has been taking a “two-handed approach.”
The first aspect is enforcement, he said, noting that “There are a lot of scammers, a lot of fraudsters in this marketplace, and when we find them we’re covering the beat for them, we’re taking them out, and our authority in this area has just been confirmed by two federal courts.”
These legal victories came in the last few months, with two separate federal judges ruling that the agency has the power to enforce the Commodity Exchange Act against individuals or entities potentially committing fraud using cryptocurrencies. Last month, a judge ruled that for the purposes of the Act, the CFTC could bring a case against My Big Coin and its founders.
That ruling came a few weeks after another judge ruled in the CFTC’s favor as part of a separate lawsuit against CabbageTech, a company the CFTC claimed had defrauded investors by selling crypto trading advice which never materialized.
“On the other hand, when it comes to innovation, we take a ‘first do no harm’ approach, the old doctor’s adage of ‘first do no harm,'” he said, explaining that the agency wants to see innovation developed within the U.S.
He explained further:
“To that end it was under our watch that the very [first] two bitcoin futures products have emerged and according to the San Francisco Fed it was the bitcoin futures emerging that actually sapped the bitcoin bubble that emerged at the end of 2017 and we’ve seen bitcoin, perhaps, in some people’s view, achieve a more sustainable level than it was during the bubble period last year.”
Christopher Giancarlo image via the U.S. House Agriculture Committee
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