CFTC commissioner calls for crypto regulatory pilot program

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Caroline Pham, a commissioner with the United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), has suggested a limited pilot program in an effort to address crypto regulation.

In a pre-recorded message for a Cato Institute event on Sept. 7, Pham said that following public roundtable discussions she planned to propose a pilot program for digital asset markets, claiming the U.S. may soon need to “play catch-up” to crypto-friendly jurisdictions. She suggested that the program would be similar to regulatory sandboxes previously introduced at the state level.

“A pilot program can create a framework for emerging technologies and market structures under our existing laws and regulations,” said Pham. “It is my hope that a pilot to test, gather data, and develop a pragmatic approach to tokenization can ensure we continue to uphold our mandate to fostering open, transparent, competitive and financially sound markets.”

Pham called for a stakeholder roundtable and for the CFTC to propose and adopt rules on the risks of crypto based on previous pilot programs. At the conclusion of the program, the commission would determine whether to implement the changes permanently.

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Serving at the CFTC since April 2022, Pham is one of five commissioners who has called for greater clarity on crypto regulation. In addition to sponsoring the commission’s Global Markets Advisory Committee, she has suggested initiatives aimed at protecting crypto retail investors.

The proposed pilot program came following U.S. lawmakers’ attempts to clarify the roles of the CFTC and Securities and Exchange Commission on crypto regulation. In July, the House Financial Services Committee approved the Financial Innovation and Technology for the 21st Century Act, setting the bill up for a full House vote possibly before 2024.

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