Heath Tarbert, the head of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) says the country should be at the forefront of global crypto adoption by creating innovative solutions in the emerging cryptocurrency space.
The U.S. financial watchdog chief also wants regulators to move towards a more streamlined regulatory environment for digital assets in the United States.
Earlier in the year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had warned that China was leading the rest of the world in the race for control of the digital landscape. Several other stakeholders have also criticized the stringent and confusing regulatory environment that they say is hindering widespread crypto adoption.
The US Should be Number One in Digital Innovation
Appearing at a conference on Tuesday (November 12, 2019), Chairman Tarbert remarked that the U.S. should be taking the lead in the global crypto adoption arena. According to the CFTC chair:
“I think America needs to lead. You see other countries starting to make inroads in this area, and so as a regulator, I want to at least create an environment where innovation can flourish, and whatever risks there are, we’re able to mitigate those.”
Crypto adoption and blockchain utilization have recently made a significant splash in China. Several state actors in Beijing have released positive comments regarding digital currencies and decentralized technology.
Such is the extent of the positive sentiment from China, that commentators in the West say Europe and America may be falling behind. Some stakeholders have even called for central banks to begin preparing modalities for the creation of national digital currencies to keep up with China’s efforts.
Patchwork of Regulations Not Helping American Crypto Adoption
As part of his speech at the conference, Chairman Tarbert identified the patchwork of State and Federal regulations as a major hindrance to U.S. crypto adoption and innovation in the digital space. According to Tarbert, U.S. regulators should do better to create an enabling environment for crypto and blockchain startups in the country.
Commenting on the fractured U.S. crypto regulatory environment, Tarbert remarked:
“We have a situation where stablecoins and other [digital products] could be regulated by 51 jurisdictions plus the federal government. I think that if we’re really going to lead, we should give some careful thought — and this is really a question for Congress, as well as others.”
Several major players in the U.S. crypto and blockchain industry have railed against the stifling regulatory climate especially regarding the status of digital tokens as securities. For its part, the CFTC has attempted to provide some clarity on the matter, stating categorically that Ethereum is a commodity.
However, such clarity does not exist for the other over 2,000 crypto tokens available in the market. Some exchanges have been forced to geofence certain digital coins from their U.S. traders.
For Tarbert, the U.S. Congress and the various regulatory agencies have to come to a point of consonance regarding digital tokens or see American crypto adoption suffer. The CFTC chair said U.S. lawmakers can provide the necessary legal foundation upon which regulators can devise clear-cut classification systems for digital assets.
Several major names in the U.S. crypto scene have also created self-regulatory organizations (SROs) as a way of charting a forward-looking course for crypto classification. Chairman Tarbert also highlighted the importance of proposed bills like the Token Taxonomy Act in providing robust regulatory clarity for cryptocurrency tokens.