Bitcoin and Ether Get Commoditized At Senate Ag Hearing

DCCPA Hearing

The Digital Commodities Consumer Protection Act (DCCPA or S.4760) took centerstage at a 2-1/2 hour hearing of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry featuring many of its committee members including Senators Debbie Stabenow (D, MI), Chairwoman, and John Boozman (R, AR), Ranking Member.

Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Chair Rostin Behnam, a former Stabenow staffer, led off testimony on DCCPA which he helped create in partnership with the Committee.

Back in February, shortly after Behnam was sworn in as CFTC Chair, a Senate Ag hearing on digital assets laid the groundwork for themes of the bipartisan bill which will classify the cryptocurrencies Bitcoin and Ethereum as commodities and therefore within the jurisdiction of the CFTC.

Senator Boozman stressed during the hearing that DCCPA is not meant to erode the jurisdiction of the SEC over securities.

    • Video of today’s hearing is available here.
    • Behnam’s testimony is here which includes a section titled, “The CFTC: The Right Regulator.”


Overall, there were few surprises in the Senate Ag hearing – after all, it’s a bipartisan bill co-sponsored by the Democratic Chair and the Republican Ranking member.

Continue reading “Bitcoin and Ether Get Commoditized At Senate Ag Hearing”

Defiant or Defensive, SEC Chair Gensler Unleashes PR Blitz On Crypto

SEC Chair Gary Gensler at NYC Summit

Spinning out of the Labor Day holiday, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chair Gary Gensler unleashed a public relations blitz about cryptocurrency and its regulation.

His position mostly reinforced what the Chair has said before: crypto companies should “come in” and connect with the SEC to ensure regulatory compliance, the Howey Test is the unquestionable arbiter of all things securities-related and Bitcoin is a commodity.

Putting his many appearances together such as SEC Speaks 2022, The Wall Street Journal and CoinDesk, Chair Gensler appears either increasingly defiant or defensive in relation to the crypto hordes depending on your point-of-view.

The least publicized of his media appearances on Wednesday was his 10-minute taped interview (see the video) with former Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker for NYC Summit. Ms. Pritzker’s firm Inspired Capital co-hosted the New York City entrepreneurial ecosystem event along with Primary Capital.

Gensler’s role as head of the CFTC (2009-2014) overlapped six months with Pritzker’s Commerce Secretary role (2013-2017) during the Obama administration.

Interview highlights

Among the questions, Ms. Pritzker inquired about “Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies” and how the Chair saw them evolving from a regulatory standpoint. Chair Gensler avoided mentioning any cryptocurrency by name other than Bitcoin:

(lightly edited for clarity)

“This is a bit of innovation that came along, whomever Satoshi Nakamoto, whoever she was, or he, this innovation. And the investing public got interested – certainly by five, six years ago – got pretty interested. I think that it’s similar to what I said earlier. I think the investing public benefits from disclosures, understanding what a group of entrepreneurs might be doing, and, frankly, that most of the tokens and there’s five or 10,000 tokens to buy most of the tokens have a group of entrepreneurs and the public is trying to invest in those projects and get a better future. Well, those are the attributes of a security. And those are things that the SEC does well. I’ve said come in, talk to us, help get the the intermediaries registered, the crypto exchanges, the crypto lending platforms, the crypto broker dealers, registered we can use exemptive authority to to where we can to tailor this but also the disclosures around the tokens.”

Continue reading “Defiant or Defensive, SEC Chair Gensler Unleashes PR Blitz On Crypto”

Blockchain Association Sees Challenges and Opportunity Ahead For Crypto at ETH Denver 2022

Kristin Smith of the Blockchain Association

Momentum in the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry was on full display as ETH Denver 2022 pulsed in the Mile High city last week. Among the Saturday slate’s many presentations, Blockchain Association executive director Kristin Smith explained the state of the industry from her perch as she helps manage industry connections to DC policymakers.  

To begin, in addition to her work around DC-focused industry communications, Smith sketched out the Association’s org chart which includes key members such as Jake Chervinsky, the organization’s head of policy in DC, and a lobbying team which interacts directly with government policymakers across regulatory and legislative functions. 

As for challenges the blockchain industry is encountering today, there are many according to Smith. She identified several recent developments while remaining sanguine about the industry’s prospects overall saying, ”As an industry and ecosystem we are in a really strong place in Washington and our political power is only growing. If we continue to work together in a coordinated way, I think the policies are going to work out just fine.”

A selection of the recent developments

Continue reading “Blockchain Association Sees Challenges and Opportunity Ahead For Crypto at ETH Denver 2022”