A recent report published for the Brookings Institution is calling for enhanced regulations on cryptocurrencies. The report was authored by Harvard University fellow Timothy Massad, who served as chairman of the United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) during the administration of Pres. Barack Obama.
The report dubbed “It’s time to strengthen the regulation of crypto-assets” addresses the purported need for better regulation on digital currencies, the illicit use of cryptocurrencies, as well as measures for reducing the risk of cyber attacks. The report also provides direct recommendations of how to improve existing cryptocurrency regulations.
Per the report, there is a gap in the regulation of crypto assets that contributes to fraud and weak investor protection, which is partly represented by the fact that traditional standards required for securities and derivatives market intermediaries are not applied to cryptocurrency trading platforms.
Massad writes that cryptocurrency exchanges are not properly regulated, making them vulnerable to fraud and manipulation, as well as conflicts of interest, which raises the need for regulations to minimize operational risk and implement system safeguards.
The report points out that insufficient regulatory supervision creates broader risks in respect to cyber security and illicit payments, which results in more hacking attacks.
The former CFTC Chairman suggests that the U.S. Congress has to address the aforementioned issues by developing regulatory oversight of the cash market for crypto assets, trading platforms and other intermediaries that operate in the market.
Both the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the CFTC are purportedly competent enough to regulate the industry, so there is no need to establish a separate agency. The report states that Congress should authorize the SEC to regulate cryptocurrency circulation and regulation of trading platforms, custodians, brokers and advisors.
The legislation should also set forth core principles, rather than specifics for regulations, the same way Congress has done for futures and crowdfunding, Massad states. He added that the industry should continue to develop its own self-regulatory standards.
In January, Jeremy Allaire, the CEO and co-founder of crypto finance company Circle, said the biggest regulatory hurdle facing crypto today is the lack of clarity from the SEC. Allaire wrote in a Reddit AMA session:
“The biggest and most immediate regulatory hurdle we face is the lack of specific guidance from the SEC on how to classify various crypto assets. We believe many are clearly currencies and commodities, and there needs to be more specificity on what are really securities. This can unlock a lot of market activity, and also clearly enable the growth of a market for crypto-based securities.”