Coinbase Asks Congress to Create Crypto-Regulator

Digital currency exchange Coinbase has asked the U.S. Congress to give regulatory oversight of cryptocurrencies to a single agency, according to a company blog post. The move follows a prolonged spat between Coinbase and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

“We hope this document will animate an open and constructive discussion regarding the role of digital assets in our shared economic future,” Coinbase Chief Policy Officer Faryar Shirzad, says in the post regarding the company’s Digital Asset Policy Proposal.

Shirzad continues: “Our goal is to thoughtfully and respectfully engage in the debate, and to offer good-faith suggestions for how the U.S. financial regulatory framework should adapt to two critical developments: the blockchain-driven and decentralized evolution of the internet [and] the emergence of a distinctive asset class that is digitally native and empowers unique economic use cases.”

He adds: “We understand that high-level proposals don’t become law overnight — nor should they. But what they can do is evolve the debate in ways that are helpful for everyone, including members of Congress who are increasingly focusing on this area.”

In the first key point in the proposal, Coinbase asks Congress to “regulate digital assets under a separate framework.” The company argues rules are inadequate in the era of blockchain technologies and digital currencies.

The second point outlined by Coinbase is to “designate one regulator for digital asset markets,” and the third is to protect holders of digital assets through regulations to increase transparency and prevent market manipulation.

The fourth of four key point the company lists is “promote interoperability and fair competition.” Access to digital innovations should be broadly available.

“If fully realized, this can enshrine fair competition, responsible innovation, and promote a thriving consumer and developer ecosystem,” Coinbase says in the post.

The SEC did not immediately respond to requests for comment from the Financial Times (FT), which was among media outlets reporting the company’s move.

The 7,000-word proposal itself argues that approaching regulation of cryptocurrencies more methodically is in the U.S. national interest.

“The United States is behind other major jurisdictions, including the European Union, the United Kingdom, Singapore and other key jurisdictions in developing a unified approach to the treatment of digital assets,” the proposal states. “Absent taking similar steps, the United States is at risk of becoming a ‘taker’ of regulation as opposed to the primary ‘shaper’ of modern financial services — a position the United States has long occupied.”

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