Coinbase Lashes out at US Regulators for Slowing Innovation at Recent Congressional Hearing

At the recent sitting of the Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Securities and Investments, Chief Legal Risk Officer of Coinbase, Mike Lempres had cause to call out regulators. The sitting which took place on the 14th of March, considered pertinent questions relating to cryptocurrencies and Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs).

The hearing discussed ways to institute legal frameworks within which cryptocurrencies and ICOs would operate and its potential benefit to the US economy.

Mike Lempres in his submission said that the power of digital currencies can transform innovation, capital flow and formation as well as boost the economy. He however believes that this can only be realized through “responsible regulation.”

Additionally, he is of the view that the current regulatory system “is harming healthy innovation” largely due to lack of clear regulatory direction as to what is and what is not allowable. It is also not clear under which classifications to place digital tokens and assets.

“There is so much uncertainty about the definition of a security and the scope of regulatory control that the market is being chilled. This is bad for everyone because technology won’t stop. It will simply move overseas and we will miss out on the opportunity to cultivate benefits in the U.S.” he stated.

Lempres wants the authorities to ensure that the potential benefits of the technology to the United States are not missed as a result of the lingering air of regulatory uncertainty. He believes that appropriate, relevant and innovation-friendly regulations should be enacted in order not to stifle innovation.

In an answer to a question by Rep. Bill Huizenga on ICOs, Lempres said “we do not support any ICO at the current time because we are not sure what the regulatory treatment is. We are awaiting for the dust to settle between the CFTC and SEC before we can engage  on supporting ICOs.”