The four nominees for President Joe Biden’s seat on the Commodity Futures Trading Commission urged Congress that the primary US derivatives regulator should take on new responsibilities regulating cryptocurrency.
The candidates claimed the agency’s experience of supervising crypto derivatives positioned it well to do more to oversee digital assets during their confirmation hearing before the Senate Agriculture Committee on Wednesday. Last month, the agency’s chair, Rostin Behnam, told lawmakers that the regulator should be given more authority and a budget boost of at least $100 million.
The question of which authorities should be in charge of digital tokens is still being debated in Washington. The CFTC’s current responsibilities include overseeing Bitcoin and Ether derivatives, as well as investigating fraud and market manipulation in underlying markets. Meanwhile, SEC Chair Gary Gensler has drawn attention for stating that most tokens are subject to his agency’s strict investor-protection requirements, a position that industry officials dispute.
One of the four female CFTC nominees, Christy Goldsmith Romero, argued during the hearing on Wednesday that the agency lacks visibility into underlying crypto markets. “It’s really difficult to uncover fraud if you don’t have visibility or access,” said Goldsmith Romero, a special inspector general for the Treasury Department’s Troubled Asset Relief Program for the past ten years.
Summer Mersinger, Caroline Pham, and Kristin Johnson, the other nominees, were similarly grilled by lawmakers about their views on crypto regulation, and signaled that the CFTC was set to take on a larger role.
Disclaimer: These are the writer’s opinions and should not be considered investment advice. Readers should do their own research.