Treasury, SEC and CFTC Leaders Commiserate With Financial Markets On Crypto

Secretary Yellen

It’s not every 350-person trade conference that could attract a Cabinet member and the chairs of two U.S. regulatory agencies. But, that’s the importance of the annual meeting of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) to the Biden Administration and keepers of the financial system at-large. And crypto took a “bow” repeatedly during the day-long agenda.

SIFMA defines itself as representation for broker-dealers, investment banks and asset managers and was formed in the early 2000s from the merger of the Bond Market Association and the Securities Industry Association according to Wikipedia. The day’s content showed that crypto is a subset of key concerns for the industry which include public policy & financial regulation, “modernization of finance” and retail investors.

As stated during the meeting by SIFMA President and CEO Kenneth Bentsen, consumer protections are at the top of the list – at least publicly – in terms of his organization’s views on crypto’s entry into the global financial system.

Janet Yellen – prepared remarks

The first U.S. government representative to take the stage was U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

Her prepared remarks are here. The highlights include:

    • On the U.S. economy – Sec. Yellen began by reassuring the audience that there is “significant strength” in the U.S. economy amid the global tempest of war and inflation to name a few. But, “inflation remains too high, and we are contending with serious global headwinds.”
    • On crypto – She touted recent reports from Treasury in response to the Biden Executive Order on digital assets saying, “Our goal is to realize the potential benefits of digital assets while mitigating and minimizing their risks.” She stressed the need for “adequate regulation.”

Janet Yellen – Q&A

During the Q&A with SIFMA’s Bentsen, Sec. Yellen said regarding digital assets:
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Not All Stablecoins Are Created Equal – Or Stable


This week’s DC Blockchain Summit from the Chamber of Digital Commerce included a timely panel discussion on stablecoins given the recent Terra Luna stablecoin implosion as well as yesterday’s testimony in front of the House Financial Services Committee by Federal Reserve Vice Chairwoman Lael Brainard.

The Chairwoman was hopeful telling lawmakers that stablecoins and a central bank digital currency (CBDC) could provide a “safe” government-backed settlement layer and “would actually facilitate and enable private sector innovation.”

Panel participants for “Stablecoins and the Future of Money” included:

Are stablecoins innovative?

Moderator Stephen Palley of law firm Anderson Kill led things off by wondering aloud whether stablecoins are truly an innovation.

Caitlin Long, Founder and CEO of Custodia Bank and a well-known, Wyoming-based cryptocurrency advocate, began by saying that they are innovative but not truly crypto. She clarified: “They are not truly crypto in the sense that anything that touches the US dollar – so I’m talking about any sort of backed version of a stablecoin – ultimately has to clear through the Federal Reserve and therefore they’re not decentralized meaning they may be issued on blockchain-like rails, but they are not decentralized. They have an issuer and anything that has an issuer by my definition isn’t decentralized. Ergo, it is quasi-crypto, but not actually crypto.”

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