Consensus 2018: Regulators don’t want to stifle blockchain innovation

A panel of US regulators have spoken about their approach to cryptocurrencies and ICOs, assuring the audience at the Consensus 2018 conference in New York that they do not wish to ‘hinder’ the industry.

Robert Cohen, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Enforcement Division Cyber Unit chief, said: “The SEC has been open about meeting with people from the industry, to come in and meet with the staff, to talk about the ideas you have, the new developments, and have a dialogue about the new technology.

“The commission encourages ways to raise capital, we don’t regulate the technology – we regulate the financial industry and markets.”

James McDonald, enforcement director at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), stressed the importance of flexibility in approaches to financial markets.

“The number one priority for the Department of Justice is to keep people safe,” added associate deputy attorney general Sujit Raman. “One concern we have for the larger virtual currency space is large sums of money are flowing through the market without touching financial institutions.

“From a national security perspective or an anti-money laundering perspective, that’s something… we have to investigate. As with anything else, it’s a balance but it’s certainly one of our priorities, to know what’s going on.”

Speaking on the SEC guidance on tokens that have been released, Cohen said: “The main issue is whether the token or whatever asset you have is a security, and the commission has put out guidancce on that. If a firm or person is making a good-fait effort to comply with the law, and one step to that is if they’re talking to regulators, [we’ll work with them].”