What is the role of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) in regulating the fintech and crypto industries? Are digital assets commodities or securities? Which federal agency should have jurisdiction to regulate the spot market for those digital assets? These were some of the questions discussed at the recent “Regulating Financial Innovation: The Future of Crypto and Blockchain” symposium.
The Rutgers Law School Center for Corporate Law and Governance co-hosted the event with the Wall Street Blockchain Alliance and Lowenstein Crypto at Lowenstein Sandler’s New York City office on October 24. Douglas Eakeley, the Alan V. Lowenstein Professor of Corporate and Business Law and Co-Director of the Center, noted, “It was important to bring together regulators, practitioners, and academics to focus on some of the cutting-edge issues in the regulation of this emerging and unsettled area of finance.”
The featured speaker was CFTC Chair Rostin Behnam, who discussed his agency’s role in regulating the fintech and crypto industries with Rutgers Law Vice Dean Yuliya Guseva and Professor Eakeley. Behnam also talked about the jurisdictional issues between the CFTC and the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), as well as pending legislation aimed at clarifying whether digital assets should be regulated as commodities by the CFTC or as securities by the SEC.
“CFTC Chairman Behnam provided crucial insights on the regulatory developments in digital assets and the current and future role of the CFTC,” said Vice Dean Guseva. She continued, “The United States needs to develop an appropriate regulatory framework to capture the benefits of these innovations. At the same time, it is important to monitor new risk nodes and protect consumers and investors in the digital asset space. At the symposium, several law professors and distinguished practitioners zeroed in on this dilemma and highlighted a spectrum of opinions from academia, regulators, and fintechs.”
Vice Dean Guseva also participated in one of two panel discussions during the half-day hybrid symposium attended by nearly 200 people in-person and online. The “Challenges of Financial Innovation” panel examined new approaches to financial innovation, the impact of federal regulation, and potential statutory and regulatory reforms. The other panel, “Managing Regulatory Risk,” addressed compliance challenges and risks faced by fintech firms and the cryptoasset industry, as well as the multi-level regulatory landscape in the U.S.