A new commissioner at U.S. regulator the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) repeated called for handling fintech – including blockchain and cryptocurrency – with an “open mind” in a speech Thursday, Oct. 25.
Speaking at the 2018 International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) Annual Japan Conference in Tokyo, Rostin Behnam, who has now held the post for a year, revealed he had spent much of that time focusing on issues related to disruptive fintech.
“I am surprised by the amount of time I spent examining issues related to bitcoin, crypto assets, distributed ledger technology (DLT), artificial intelligence, and cloud-based programming,” he told the audience.
Behnam also spoke to the variety of potential use cases for DLT, such as blockchain, listing the range “from agriculture to healthcare, finance to art, CryptoKitties to Dogecoin.”
Calls for fair handling of disruptive technology have also come from regulators of other spaces. As reported this week, the chairman of the U.S. telecoms regulator defended the need for a “level playing field” for phenomena such as blockchain going forward.
Preempting the importance of such phenomena marks a further key focus for Behnam, who added about his engagement with the crypto, DLT and AI sectors:
“I had no single goal in mind, just a desire to avoid being the typical regulator on the tail end of technological advancement, scurrying to keep pace with swift innovations that capture market efficiencies, open markets to new products and participants, and often reward those willing to take risk.”
Both the CFTC and fellow U.S. regulator the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have increasingly found themselves in the spotlight regarding the cryptocurrency industry this year.
The latter, having rejected a raft of Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) applications in August, is now communicating with prospective operators who are attempting to iron out the agency’s concerns about their offerings.