The chair of the U.S. financial regulator is right about cryptocurrency trading platforms: they should be regulated.
I’m coming out in support of Gary Gensler, chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Wall Street’s top watchdog, following a Financial Times interview published Wednesday.
In the interview he said that while he was "technology neutral," crypto assets were no different than any others when it came to such public policy imperatives as investor protection, guarding against illicit activity and maintaining financial stability.
It must be championed that the man at the top is taking a future-focused and pragmatic approach to cryptocurrencies – which have a market capitalisation of more than two trillion dollars and which are becoming an increasingly dominant part of the mainstream global financial system.
Cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Cardano, XRP, amongst others, are not going anywhere.
Crypto is very much here to stay as financial assets and as mediums of exchange.
Therefore, they must be brought into the regulatory tent and be held to the same rigorous standards as the rest of the financial system.
The best way to do this is through the exchanges.
Nearly all foreign exchange transactions go through banks or currency houses, and this is what needs to happen with cryptocurrencies.
When flows run through regulated exchanges, it will be much easier to tackle potential wrongdoing, such as money laundering, and make sure tax is paid.
Gensler’s interview with the Financial Times follows his fresh demands last month that Congress grant the SEC more power to oversee the growing crypto market.
The watchdog needs more powers over the market as there's a clear direction of travel: both institutional and retail investors are taking Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies more and more seriously. They are increasing their exposure to them at a faster rate than ever before.
The SEC seems aware that digital assets are the inevitable future of money, therefore they require more oversight.
I’m both a long-term advocate of cryptocurrencies, but also of regulation of the sector and have publicly supported global financial regulators, central banks, lawmakers and governments who have moved to support introducing it.
There’s sustained interest in and demand for cryptocurrencies so what's needed is a strong regulatory framework to be established and approved at an international level.
This will help protect investors, make the sector itself more robust, tackle cryptocurrency criminality, and reduce the potential possibility of disrupting global financial stability, as well as offering a potential long-term economic boost to those countries which introduce it.
Cryptocurrency regulation is required and, I believe, on its way.
The work being done by the SEC and other financial regulators globally is something that everyone who is confident that digital assets are the future of money, as this writer is, should champion.
Nigel Green is founder and CEO of deVere Group. One of the world's largest independent financial advisory organizations, de Vere does business in 100 countries and has more than $12 billion under advisement.
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