CFTC Chairman Delivers Remarks on Cryptocurrency Regulation

During a Brookings webinar on the state of cryptocurrency regulation, CFTC Chairman Rostin Behnam delivered remarks discussing the future of crypto regulation. Behnam identified current risks in the crypto space arising from “macroeconomic factors, leverage built up by the emergence of new financial products, high risk investing, and contagion.” He noted that crypto regulation is in its current state due to “a patchwork blanket” of regulation and oversight that allows vulnerabilities to bubble to the surface. He added that “while the CFTC does not have direct statutory authority to regulate cash markets, the CFTC maintains anti-fraud, false reporting, and anti-manipulation enforcement authority over commodity cash markets in interstate commerce.” The CFTC exercised its enforcement authority over digital assets, bringing more than 50 enforcement actions since 2014, including several in 2022. Behnam noted that while the CFTC will continue to safeguard the markets within its jurisdiction, “even the strongest cooperative relationships may not yield the efficiency we need to put hard and fast stops to misconduct that increasingly has impacts beyond individual investors.” He encouraged the development of federal legislation, highlighting areas which require attention such as payments, custody, illicit activity, and national security, as well as further coordination among federal agencies to respond to the risks in these often-opaque markets.