Posted by Shahrani Bhatti.
On January 30th of 2018, U.S. regulators made it known that they feel Congress should expand regulation of the bitcoin as well as a growing number of other cryptocurrencies. Their reasoning being that the currency is not subject to investor-protection laws. The chairmen of the SEC and the CFTC told senators that the exceedingly popular cryptocurrency has surmounted state regulation. This is only one of a growing number of concerns, as U.S. banks are taking a step forward and stopping credit card purchases of bitcoin in addition to bitcoin prices dropping dramatically as governments in China, India and South Korea have placed restrictions on cryptocurrency trading.
The chairmen continued, saying that in order to regulate cryptocurrencies and protect investors, Congress would need to become involved as the SEC and the CFTC hold no power in regards to the market of products like bitcoin. At a testimony earlier this year, Christopher Giancarlo of the CFTC said that if they were given jurisdiction in this situation that it would be a, “dramatic expansion of the CFTC’s regulatory mission.”
Both market regulators have also halted illicit operations that have attempted to capitalize investors’ growing desire for returns similar to that of bitcoin’s skyrocketing $17,900 in only December of last year. The SEC has also stopped initial coin offerings, a fundraising method that has accumulated billions from investors in exchange for the issuance of new digital currencies like the bitcoin, as the demand for them continues to grow. Chief of the SEC, Mr. Clayton said that unlike the bitcoin, however, that these other issuances leave the issuer vulnerable to federal anti-fraud and investor-protection laws. Because of unregulated exchanges, Chief Clayton says, market prices can intensely rise.
While the bitcoin is still mainly unregulated, its derivatives are continually inspected. The CTFC has examined how these tokens should be allotted for trading. Mr. Giancarlo has come up with a new process for other duplicate tokens of the bitcoin, which consist of intensified information sharing agreements between exchanges and the CFTC, and agreements by exchanges to coordinate launches with CFTC’s staff.
I believe cryptocurrency regulation is a necessity at this time. Investors need to be protected from fraud. If the U.S. begins to regulate these currencies, then other countries may also follow suit. The cryptocurrencies may also grow and lead to an increased number of jobs which can only benefit the U.S. economy. If this benefits the U.S. economy, a larger standard of living will persist and the U.S. will become a more powerful country — as a high standard of living among people, high GDP and a good economy are the defining features of powerful countries. Cryptocurrency may give the current U.S. national currency a run for its money, but in the long run, the benefits will outweigh the costs as cryptocurrencies are easier to manage and track as the exchanges are basically exclusively carried out online.
Shahrani Bhatti is an economics major at the Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University, Class of 2020.