Coinbase CEO, Brian Armstrong, has called for clear, comprehensive legislation in the crypto industry, cautioning that the United States is approaching a “5G moment” for cryptocurrency. During an exclusive interview with Yahoo Finance, he emphasized that without immediate action, the US risks losing ground in a sector he perceives as pivotal.
Crypto Faces Its “5G Moment”
Armstrong described the current regulatory climate as one marked by the SEC’s “regulation by enforcement”, a condition he regards as “harassment” toward crypto startups due to the issuance of subpoenas without transparent guidelines.
“This is going to be kind of like our 5G or semiconductor moment, where in five years, we’ll be thinking, how do we get this back onshore if we don’t do something now?” Armstrong said, highlighting the potential long-term repercussions of regulatory inertia.
He disclosed having productive dialogues with high-ranking government officials and lawmakers, noting a shared understanding from both political spectrums of the importance of addressing this emerging field. “I think there is a general consensus and understanding from both sides of the aisle that this is an important issue,” the Coinbase CEO reported, underscoring a widespread recognition of the urgent need to preclude potential damage to American interests and to prevent the industry’s displacement offshore.
Despite the seemingly common ground, Armstrong acknowledged the difficulties inherent in political processes and the remaining divergences on various aspects such as state and federal pathways for stablecoins. However, he expressed a flexible stance on behalf of the industry, stating, “I think what– there’s a reasonable set of places where these rules could land. I’m OK with any of them. I just want there to be clear rules.”
The Coinbase CEO also commented on the House Financial Services Committee’s market structure bill, dismissing speculations about it being dead on arrival in the Senate. He optimistically referred to the ongoing efforts by Senators Gillibrand and Lummis and speculated on a potential integration with their legislative initiatives.
He raised concerns about the lingering legislative uncertainty, warning that if the situation persists, the matters will be conclusively determined by court rulings, which, given the SEC’s recent track record in the last cases, might not align with what some lawmakers envision.
Path Forward For Coinbase
Regarding Coinbase’s trajectory in the US, Armstrong projected a sense of assurance given the legal decisions of late. He shared, “As I mentioned, the SEC has gone 3-0 in the last three judges’ rulings, and so we feel very good about our case.” This sentiment of optimism stems from key decisions, such as judges in the Ripple case determining that certain underlying assets were not securities. “Multiple judges have come to that conclusion, and that’s a key fact in our case as well,” Armstrong added.
He further dissected comments made by SEC chair Gensler in yesterday’s congressional hearing, hinting at a blossoming consensus on the distinct responsibilities the CFTC might shoulder vis-à-vis the SEC. “SEC chair Gensler shared something in the hearing today which is that he believes that the CFTC should have authority, the administrative branch said that, now he is finally saying that,” He observed. “Some bills that got bi-partisan support also say that. They carve out a clear path for when the CFTC and the SEC should have a role.”
He joins Yahoo Finance live from Washington, DC, to discuss the push for regulatory certainty in the crypto space. Full interview: pic.twitter.com/8fb5RXoUd5
— Yahoo Finance (@YahooFinance) September 27, 2023
At press time, the COIN stock price stood at $71.52.
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