Crypto CEOs and Their Testimonies During Today’s Congressional Hearing

Today, a major hearing took place on Capitol Hill titled “Digital Assets and the Future of Finance: Understanding Innovation in the United States.” It featured top crypto industry CEOs, including Jeremy Allaire, Sam Bankman-Fried, Brian Brooks, and more.

Here’s what some of them told financial regulators about the ideal regulatory landscape.

  • North Carolina Rep Patrick McHenry prefaces the hearing by asking how to ensure the crypto industry grows within the United States and not overseas. He stresses that it’s not correct to demonize the entire industry based on the actions of a few bad actors.
  • Acting as witnesses, each company CEO offered testimony defending their company’s actions, explaining what they offer and why they should be protected from burdensome regulations.
  • BitFury CEO Brian Brooks, who used to head the US Office of the Comptroller of Currency, challenges the consistency of allowing only banks to issue stablecoins while failing to grant bank charters to the major stablecoin issuers. In the US stablecoin report released last month, SEC Chairman Gary Gensler and other contributors suggested that only insured depository institutions be allowed to issue stablecoins.
  • Brooks also criticizes the SEC’s regulatory action thus far for driving industry players offshore. He specifically references Fidelity, which moved to Canada with their Bitcoin spot ETF product after being rejected in the US.
  • On stablecoins, Charles Cascarilla – CEO of Paxos – suggested the US dollar could lose its world reserve status if neither regulated USD-backed stablecoins or a US CBDC manages to take off.
  • Interestingly, Maxine Waters accused Cascarilla of just the same thing, moments later. Given Paxos’ partnership with Meta (Facebook), she fears the PAX dollar being used by over 3 billion monthly active users through NOVI could undermine the US dollar.
  • Ann Wagner – Representative of Missouri – addresses the discrepancy between Chairman Gensler’s feelings about regulatory clarity, versus that of industry participants and other congresspeople. Coinbase CFO Alesia Haas said she thought securities laws surrounding cryptocurrencies were quite clear: that blockchain tokens are not securities. In Coinbase’s view, they are either “a new form of digital property, or a new way to record ownership.”
  • Haas’ opinion directly contradicts Gensler’s, who believes most tokens are securities, possibly including stablecoins.

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