CFTC u.s. commodity futures trading commission

CFTC taps new adviser with digital currency regulation experience

Caroline D. Pham, one of the five commissioners of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), has appointed Keaghan Ames as counselor and senior policy advisor. Ames has experience in advising on digital currency regulatory issues from his background. 

Ames served as the Head of U.S. regulatory policy for the U.S. arm of Credit Suisse Securities, a bank known internationally for pioneering blockchain adoption. During his time, he advised the bank’s executives on an array of regulatory issues, including digital currency adoption. 

However, Ames joined the CFTC after a stint at the Institute of International Bankers (IBB), where he served as the director of Federal Government Affairs. During this time, he also represented the U.S. operations of internationally headquartered financial institutions, federal prudential and market regulators, and the New York Department of Financial Services before Congress. 

In a press release, Pham, who was confirmed as a CFTC commissioner in April, noted that Ames’ wealth of experience would serve the CFTC well. 

“He brings with him deep policy expertise, practical regulatory implementation experience, and a well-rounded understanding of regulated markets and registrants. Keaghan has been a trusted advisor to executives throughout his career and I am confident his background and skillset will serve the Commission well during this critical time,” the release said. 

Keaghan also previously served as a law clerk for CFTC Commissioner J. Christopher Giancarlo while in law school back in 2015. 

Digital currency regulation is among the CFTC’s top priorities

In recent times, the CFTC has been among U.S. federal agencies emphasizing the need for regulatory clarity for digital currencies. In December 2021, top CFTC attorneys joined others from the DoJ and SEC to discuss ways to curb digital currency crime.

The CFTC chair, Rostin Behnam, recently told Bloomberg that the commission will consider its alternatives for regulation of the industry if the Congress fails to provide “clear direction.” He also noted that the CFTC is ready to cooperate with the SEC to achieve this. 

“In the absence of clear direction from Congress, which I know they’re working on, it’s our responsibility to work together and to come up with solutions to the extent that we’re able to within the authority that we currently have,” he said. 

Meanwhile, digital currency firms are also looking to get regulatory clarity. Key industry players, including Sam Bankman-Fried, the CEO and co-founder of FTX exchange, have expressed hope that the CFTC will provide the industry with “light touch” regulations compared to the SEC’s restrictive regulatory regime. 

Watch: U.S. Congressman Patrick McHenry on Blockchain Policy Matters with Bitcoin Association’s Jimmy Nguyen

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