US Officials are Discussing How to Regulate Cryptocurrencies and Stablecoins

America’s Securities and Exchanges Commission received a letter Thursday from Colorado Senator John Hickenlooper urging clearer regulations of digital assets: The lawmaker asked the agency to clarify what types of digital assets are securities, address how to issue and list digital securities, establish a registration service for digital asset security trading platforms, set regulations on how trading and custody of digital assets should be carried out, and determine what disclosures are required for potential investors to be informed about. “Given the complexity of these issues, and recognizing that some digital assets are securities, others may be commodities, and others may be subject to a completely different regulatory regime, a formal regulatory process is needed now,” Hickenlooper wrote in his letter.

“This will significantly improve policy development and allow the SEC to collect views and understand concerns. Furthermore, it will create clear rules that will benefit investors who currently may not be fully aware of the risks associated with digital asset investments….”

Hickenlooper also wrote that applying old market regulations to cryptocurrency would lead to financial services being more expensive and less accessible; leading to the agency’s disclosure regime being less useful to U.S. residents. “I recognize these questions are complicated, but it is time for the SEC to engage. Empowering innovators, fostering financial innovation, protecting investors, and ensuring market integrity are consistent principles,” the lawmaker concluded in his letter. “I look forward to working with you to build prudent rules as this powerful technology continues to develop.”

Meanwhile, the Securities and Exchange Commission wants some changes of its own, reports Reuters: The U.S. Congress should give the Commodity Futures Trading Commission more powers to police cryptocurrency stablecoins to reduce risks to the financial system, Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler said on Friday…. With around $150 billion in market capitalization, stablecoins have many similarities to money market funds, and need to be regulated accordingly, Gensler said at a conference held by Georgetown University’s Psaros Center for Financial Markets and Policy in Washington…. “I think the CFTC could have greater authorities. They currently do not have direct regulatory authorities over the underlying non-security tokens,” he said….

The Financial Stability Oversight Council, a U.S. regulatory panel comprising top financial regulators, earlier this month recommended that Congress pass legislation addressing the risks digital assets pose to the financial system, including bills to bolster oversight of crypto spot markets and stablecoins. It remains unclear when Congress might pass crypto-related legislation, although several bills have been introduced to address stablecoins and digital commodities regulation.