The Commissioner of the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) made surprisingly optimistic remarks about cryptocurrencies this past week, claiming cryptocurrencies “will proliferate to every economy” during a speech at the United Nations.
CFTC Commissioner Rostin Behnam made the comments on June 4 during a talk at the BFI United Nations Summit. His speech made headlines across the cryptocurrency industry, with some calling him a “new cryptocurrency ally”.
Industry-wide, people were surprised that a regulator made the optimistic comments. Typically, regulators are the ones who warn users about cryptocurrencies or describe them as a fad.
Another significant fact is that the topic of the summit had nothing to do with cryptocurrencies. The topic was described as,
“Fostering Open, Transparent, Competitive, and Financially Sound Markets”.
The summit took place at the UN Plaza in New York. Although Behnam was optimistic about the future of cryptocurrencies, he also expressed skepticism about certain aspects of the crypto industry – like the ability for whales to manipulate markets:
“We are witnessing a technological revolution. Perhaps we are witnessing a modern miracle,” Behnam said during his speech.
“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.”
The CFTC has published the speech in its entirety online at CFTC.gov.
Based on the comments above, Behnam is very optimistic about the future of cryptocurrencies, describing them as a “modern miracle” and a “technological revolution”. Those sound like terms a cryptocurrency evangelist would use – not a regulator!
Behnam also apparently suspects cryptocurrencies to replace traditional economic practices around the world. Plus, he doesn’t just see cryptocurrencies being a toy for developed countries: he sees them becoming an integral part of “every economy and every part of the planet.”
Behnam specifically explained how cryptocurrencies could help smaller economies. He claims smaller countries with smaller economies may become “dependent on virtual assets for survival.”
Behnam Also Expressed Skepticism About Market Manipulation
It wasn’t all glowing praise for the cryptocurrency industry. Behnam also expressed skepticism at certain aspects of the industry.
Behnam, for example, pointed out that cryptocurrencies could become a method in which the rich can control the movement of wealth. “Whales” in the cryptocurrency industry, for example, can manipulate the market for their own benefit simply by selling large amounts of coins at once.
Some also believe these problems will get worse as institutional and retail investments arrive. These issues could be compounded, allowing major market players to manipulate the industry while leaving everybody else with limited influence.
The CFTC Will Continue Regulating the Cryptocurrency Industry
At the start of his speech, Behnam mentioned that his organization, the CFTC, is responsible for providing oversight in the cryptocurrency market.
One of the primary goals of the CTFC is to ensure “markets are free from fraud and manipulation.”
With that in line, Behnam seemed to indicate that more regulations are forthcoming in the cryptocurrency industry – which shouldn’t be a surprise for anyone. As institutional investors continue to jump on board, regulation was inevitable.
Earlier this week, for example, the CFTC demanded that cryptocurrency exchanges reveal trading data. The CFTC plans to use that data to determine whether prices in the cryptocurrency industry are being manipulated. Despite the upcoming regulation, Behnam continued to heap praise on the world of virtual currencies:
“Virtual currencies could transform the economic and social landscape. It could mean a massive, and equitable, shift of wealth. Technology could be transformational, without a military take-over, civil war, or political or religious creed.”
Behnam was equally as congratulatory towards the underlying blockchain technology, describing it as “more than technology”:
“Blockchain is more than technology: it is an advance that reaches out into every aspect of life. We could use Blockchain to address the most basic, the most primal problems on our planet: corruption, income distribution, poverty, food, and health care. And, the fear billions of people experience everyday as they try to survive.”
CFTC Commissioner Rostin Behnam seems to get it! It’s refreshing to see someone with enormous regulatory power recognizing the value of the cryptocurrency industry. He didn’t describe it as a fad. He didn’t focus on the negatives – like the scams and ICO frauds. Instead, he expressed a desire to work with the cryptocurrency industry while letting the technology (safely) advance worldwide. This is all great news for the cryptocurrency industry.