Gensler appeals for ‘one rule book’ in negotiations with CFTC over crypto regulation

Regulation

United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chair Gary Gensler is in talks with Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) officials on a “memorandum of understanding” on the regulation of digital assets. Together, the agencies can assure market integrity, Gensler told The Financial Times in an interview published Thursday. “I’m talking about one rule book on the exchange that protects all trading regardless of the pair — [be it] a security token versus security token, security token versus commodity token, commodity token versus commodity token,” Gensler told the newspaper. 

Gensler’s desire to be collaborative comes as a variety of legislative initiatives have been introduced to create a more comprehensive regulatory framework for digital assets. The Digital Commodity Exchange Act, introduced in its latest form in April, and the Responsible Financial Innovation Act, introduced in June, both gave the CFTC greater authority over the market.

Debbie Stabenow, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, which has oversight of the CFTC, and the committee’s ranking member John Boozman are reportedly also drafting a crypto regulation bill, which is expected to expand CFTC powers. Gensler, who headed the CFTC from 2009 to 2013, has expressed skepticism about changes in the status quo.

The SEC has taken the lead in crypto regulation so far, but frequently to the dissatisfaction of the industry and lawmakers who are critical of its methods of allegedly regulating through enforcement. Crypto industry leaders have explicitly asked for clearer regulation, and SEC commissioner Hester Peirce has pressed for policy changes from within the commission.

Related: Bringing crypto market ‘into the light’ doesn’t address enforcement: CFTC chair

Regulation is not a question of authority alone. The Financial Times cites blockchain analytics company Elliptic as saying U.S. regulators have collected $3.35 billion through enforcement actions in the crypto industry over the years, with over 70% of that sum going to the SEC.

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