It’s no secret that governments have a propensity for running slowly at times to adopt new policies. It looks like this will be true for cryptocurrency regulation as well, at least in the United States.
Rob Joyce, special assistant to the president and cybersecurity coordinator at the White House, told CNBC that new regulations for digital coins aren’t even on the back burner yet—they’re sitting on a shelf somewhere in the back of the pantry. Before lawmakers can make a decision, they have to first explore all the pros and cons and make sure all options are considered.
While attending the Munich Security Conference in Germany, Joyce said the government is certainly exploring all the options, but added that policies were a long way from being devised. He recognized that there are numerous benefits to cryptocurrency, and would prefer to see a faster pace towards some type of oversight to help ensure digital assets cannot be used for criminal activity.
“If you look at the way bitcoin works after there is a criminal act that takes place, you can’t rewind the clock and take back that currency,” he told CNBC.
It isn’t that the government is ignoring the topic. The increasing popularity of cryptocurrencies has brought rise to many government personnel chiming in with their take. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke at an Economic Club in Washington in January, saying that regulators are already investigating illegal activities, and that the Financial Stability Oversight Council has also created a workgroup to explore cryptocurrencies.
Senate hearings have been conducted this month, as well. Several high-ranking securities regulators spoke out in favor of monitored growth and oversight in the country, without giving specifics on how policies should be enacted. The head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), as well as the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), told the Senate that they are supportive of cryptocurrencies, but that they would like to see improvements in how digital currency networks are controlled. The CFTC recently launched two committees designed to explore both cryptocurrencies and digital ledger technology and both the SEC and the CFTC have been proactive in pursuing investigations into cryptocurrency wrongdoings.
The cryptocurrency has benefited from lax policies at the government level in the United States. This is definitely changing, and the CFTC’s recognition of BTC derivatives last year is just an initial step forward. The topic of policy and regulation will certainly be a major topic during next month’s Group of 20 Summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina. France and Germany are supposedly poised to raise their objections to cryptocurrencies in general, and could propose major international controls on the market. Germany recognizes BTC as legal currency in the European country.