Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong has a forecast for what the future regulatory landscape could look like for crypto.
In a new interview on the All-in Podcast, Armstrong says that the crypto industry will likely not be regulated solely by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) because not all digital assets can be considered a security.
“Here’s what I’m realizing. Crypto is going to be many different things.
It’s not just going to be one regulator doing it. Think about cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. That’s pretty clearly a commodity. Or Ethereum. Many of these are commodities that probably should be regulated by the commodities [regulator], or the CFTC.
If people want to raise money for their company as security token, that should be regulated as a security by the SEC. That would be great to have more clarity on that…
Separately, there’s also some cryptocurrencies that are going to be currencies like stablecoins and maybe the Treasury should regulate those. Finally, there’s going to be cryptocurrencies that are none of the above. They’re artwork or something that probably shouldn’t even be regulated.”
Armstrong says that regulating the crypto industry requires a balance between protecting investors and keeping things open for new innovation that is accessible to regular people.
“We want to balance protecting people, but we also want to not have the government be in a position where it’s picking winners and losers. Just because something is legal doesn’t make it a good investment…
I think we all want to get rid of fraud, so if you commit fraud, meaning you lied to investors, then that should be a crime. I want to work with anybody in government to make that stuff not happen. The danger is if we ever get into a place where we say only wealthy people can now invest because somehow there’s an accredited investor test. That’s inherently exclusionary. I don’t like the accredited investor laws.
If we ever get into a place where the government is saying, ‘You have to have XYZ criteria and a person with this many years of experience on their resume,’ then now we get into the government sort of designed by committee to pick winners and losers, and that’s inherently flawed because a lot of true breakthrough innovation, they look like bad ideas at the beginning.
They’re the kind of things that a government body would never invest in or put money into, so that’s the inherent tension we have to worry about. We’re protecting people but not putting the government in the role of picking winners and losers.”
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