Coinbase CEO Armstrong Throws Down; Lummis-Gillibrand Return

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now or never

Fearing the worst, American cryptocurrency platform Coinbase is taking its case to the American people. It’s now or never.

Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong began the day yesterday with an op-ed published on CNBC’s website expressing deep concern about regulatory momentum in the U.S. or lack thereof. At the same time, he offered hope, “By embracing crypto and other forms of digital finance, the U.S. can not only update its financial system, but also solidify its status as a geopolitical powerhouse.” Read more.

Then, during a televised appearance during CNBC’s morning show Squawk Box, Armstrong reiterated his plea for Congress to turn things around and that “new legislation is needed.” He added, “I’ve been spending more time in DC and what’s great to see is there’s strong bipartisan support for legislation. Everybody saw what happened to FTX and they said, “OK, there needs to be strong consumer protection. We also recognize that there’s innovation potential here and we don’t want this to be like 5G or the semiconductor industry that got moved offshore…'” See the interview. Armstrong identified 3 different “groups” in Congress which were actively creating crypto legislation.

Expect to see a lot of Coinbase in DC in the months ahead. This is about the company’s long-term survival.

return of Lummis-Gillibrand

Senators Cynthia Lummis (R, WY) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D, NY) make their first appearance together since the FTX implosion at today’s The Future of Digital Assets Symposium in Washington, D.C.

Lummis-Gillibrand’s Responsible Financial Innovation Act (RFIA) in the last Congress has yet to be re-introduced in the 118th – expect some news today. A couple of weeks ago, Gillibrand expressed her concern about Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler – a unique position among Democrats post-FTX.

Kicking off the conference will be Rep. French Hill (R, AR) who will participate in a fireside chat about digital assets. Hill is Chairman of the new House Financial Services Subcommittee on Digital Assets, Financial Technology and Inclusion. See the agenda.

DeFi discussion

The CFTC’s Technology Advisory Committee (TAC) led by CFTC Commissioner Christy Goldsmith Romero will be convening on March 22. DeFi – or decentralized finance – will be a part of the agenda. Commissioner Goldsmith Romero says in the release, “A discussion about DeFi, including cyber vulnerabilities, indicators of ‘decentralization,’ digital identity and unhosted wallets, will contribute to ongoing policy discussions in Washington, D.C. and beyond the beltway. The committee has an opportunity to look past labels and examine the issues presented by DeFi thoughtfully and holistically.” See the agenda.

Blockchain analytics firm TRM Labs has been chosen to present. TRM recently revealed its findings about sanctions evasion among Russian cryptocurrency exchanges. Read: “The First Crypto War? Assessing the Illicit Blockchain Ecosystem One Year Into Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine (PDF)

French crypto legislation

France is taking a step forward with complimentary or stricter regulation to the European Union’s upcoming MiCA regulatory framework depending on who you talk to. “The rules on crypto firms mean that French companies offering crypto services must attain a registration more robust than currently offered from the Financial Markets Authority (AMF),” reports The Block. And, read about it in CoinDesk.

Silvergate slips

Troubled crypto/fiat rails provider Silvergate Capital reported in a filing yesterday that it would have to delay the release of its Annual Report – never a good sign for public company. Among its excuses: “The Company is currently analyzing certain regulatory and other inquiries and investigations that are pending with respect to the Company. The Company’s independent registered public accounting firm is also requesting detailed information relating to such matters and the Company is responding to such requests.” Read the filing (PDF).

The company is unique in that it is a regulated U.S. bank holding company, but it has been struggling since the FTX implosion in November. In January, The Wall Street Journal chronicled the $8.1 billion shortfall Silvegate had to cover. Read that one.

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