On October 24, 2022, Lowenstein Crypto, Rutgers Law, and the Wall Street Blockchain Alliance hosted a symposium entitled “Regulating Financial Innovation: The Future of Crypto and Blockchain,” that featured Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Chair Rostin Behnam discussing his agency’s role in regulating the fintech and crypto industries, the jurisdictional issues between the CFTC and the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission( SEC), and pending legislation aimed at clarifying whether cryptocurrencies are commodities or securities. Fortune reports that Benham “sought to dispel the narrative of a turf war between his agency and the Securities and Exchange Commission. ‘It’s a pretty cynical view to suggest two agencies can’t figure it out and work together,’ he said to an audience of lawyers and industry leaders.” Benham did acknowledge a difference of opinion between him and SEC Chair Gary Gensler on the classification of the cryptocurrency Ether, but he stated that “the CFTC and SEC would continue to work together, pointing to the two agencies’ track record of collaboration, such as with the development and evolution of security futures.”
Benham denied that CFTC would be more favorable in enforcement actions towards crypto than the SEC, saying: “Our enforcement record speaks for itself.” He did note that his agency’s current limited oversight and resources prevented it from doing more to stop fraud in the crypto industry, adding that if Congress removed the CFTC’s "handcuffs…we could bring more fraud and manipulation to light.”
In addition to Behnam’s remarks, the event included a panel moderated by Lowenstein partner Ethan L. Silver; co-Chair of Lowenstein Crypto and Chair of the firm’s Broker-Dealer and FinTech practices, on Managing Regulatory Risk, that addressed compliance challenges and risks faced by fintech firms and the crypto asset industry as well as the multi-level regulatory landscape in the U.S. Partner Christopher W. Gerold, former Chief of the New Jersey Bureau of Securities and president of NASAA, hosted a panel on Challenges of Financial Innovation that examined new approaches to financial innovation, the impact of federal regulation, and potential statutory and regulatory reforms.
Law360, Bitcoinist, Coindesk, Dailycoin, Coinspeaker, Yahoo!/Yahoo! Finance, The Block, Insider, Coingeek, and Investing.com also covered the event.