Cryptocurrencies ‘are not going away’, according to CFTC commissioner

Virtual currencies have the potential to ‘transform the economic and social landscape’, but proper oversight needed, says Rostin Benham

Cryptocurrencies ‘are not going away’, according to CFTC commissioner

Rostin Benham, a commissioner at the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), believes that cryptocurrencies are here to stay and “could transform the economic and social landscape”. However, he also warned that the technology could have a negative effect if it’s not properly overseen.

Speaking at the Blockchain for Impact Global Summit on Monday, Benham highlighted the potential for blockchain to address problems in various areas, including healthcare, employment and crime. He also described digital currencies as “technological revolution”, said industry website Coindesk in a report on the story, published today.

“But virtual currencies may – will – become part of the economic practices of any country, anywhere. Let me repeat that: these currencies are not going away and they will proliferate to every economy and every part of the planet. Some places, small economies, may become dependent on virtual assets for survival.  And, these currencies will be outside traditional monetary intermediaries, like government, banks, investors, ministries, or international organizations” Benham said.

However, he also cautioned that “if we are not thoughtful, if we do not remain ever diligent to the movements within the transformation, we may unleash corruption, criminality and division on a greater scale”.

“Blockchain could become a source for repression and totalitarianism,” he said.

During his speech Benham touched upon the steps the CFTC was taking to prepare for the “virtual future”. He said that, in addition to its efforts undertaken domestically, the commission has been working with international regulators on FinTech applications to “harmonize approaches and to share best practices”. As an example of this, he pointed to an agreement that the CFTC and the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) had signed a few months ago that commits the regulators to collaborating and supporting innovative firms through each other’s FinTech initiatives – LabCFTC and FCA Innovate. He pointed out that this was “the first FinTech innovation arrangement for the CFTC with a non-US counterpart.

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