In March, Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Commissioner J. Christopher Giancarlo called for the adoption of a “do no harm” regulatory doctrine toward the development of blockchain, akin to the edict the U.S. government made regarding the Internet’s growth more than 20 years ago.
One of his predecessors, Bart Chilton, says Giancarlo made the right call with respect to digital currency protection, one that President Barack Obama “should heed.”
In an op-ed published by CNBC, Chilton, like Giancarlo, refers to the Internet’s development, stating the point of the 1997 Framework for Global Electronic Commerce was “to ensure laws and regulation would not negatively impact innovation.”
Despite positive steps for the disruptive bitcoin and blockchain industry, as well as for consumers and investors, more needs to be done, wrote Chilton.
Complicating matters is the fact that many regulations in the U.S. are at the state level, with guidelines referring to “money transmitters.” Chilton argued, “Without some proactive step(s), such as self-regulatory organization (SRO) and/or word from on high by the president, the U.S. could lose out on what are potentially enormous economic benefits.”
The former CFTC commissioner pointed to the business-friendly regulatory environment in the European Union, where e-money and authorized payment institutions can “passport” operations across EU member states. “This approach stands in clear contrast with our fragmented state-by-state regulation of equivalent U.S. institutions,” Chilton wrote.
He concluded, “There is a huge opportunity that can be tapped into if U.S. government officials and industry thought-leaders establish an appropriate balance between basic consumer protection regulation and an openness which not only permits, but fosters and promotes, innovation. We did it with the internet — and we need to do it now with virtual currencies like bitcoin.”
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