Would it Be Possible at This Point to Ban Non-CBDC Crypto?

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Image Credit: ByBit (Flickr)

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Could Support Difficult Crypto Ban

Most new and revolutionary innovations go through growing pains – and at times fraud and deceit. Cryptocurrency and all the ancillary services are no different. One common reaction to some crypto problems is for legislators or regulators to swoop in and show they are protecting citizens from the newly discovered dangers. The cryptocurrency market is now 13 years young and not yet mature. This is evidenced by the meltdown of crypto exchange FTX, which has just placed the entire crypto industry in the crosshairs of the head of the Senate Banking Committee as well as others in Washington. Will crypto survive?

Killing Crypto?

With swirling allegations of fraud, misuse of customer funds, and negligence, the bankruptcy of cryptocurrency exchange FTX has caused lawmakers to try to take action to protect US citizens from activity that largely takes place outside of the States. The chairman of the Senate Banking Committee went as far as to suggest a total ban on cryptocurrencies.

When asked on NBC’s Meet the Press this past weekend whether regulation only gives legitimacy to crypto, rather than a ban, Senate Banking Committee Chair Sherrod Brown said that an immediate course of action is to have the Treasury Department embolden federal agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

 “We want them to do what they need to do,” the Senator said, “at the same time, maybe banning it—although banning it is very difficult because it will go offshore, and who knows how that will work.”  

Banning crypto would be difficult. Most transactions in the world’s digital currencies and tokens take place outside of the US, including major platforms such as Binance and Deribit.

Does Regulation Help?

While crypto is becoming a topic of scrutiny among lawmakers, the push to regulate digital assets has in some ways served as a safer opening for institutional investors to involve themselves in the asset class. A ban would seem catastrophic to publicly traded, US based Coinbase (COIN), and also halt some investment but could be largely ineffective, chasing transactions offshore. “One in six American households own crypto, a domestic ban at this stage would only lead to more FTX-like situations where Americans are forced to interact with off-shore exchanges that have no regulatory oversight,” a Coinbase spokesperson told investment publication Barron’s, adding, “Congress should focus on passing workable, comprehensive federal crypto legislation that protects consumers, enables innovation, and bolsters American competitiveness.”

A ban in place since 2021 on mining or trading cryptocurrencies in China has not prevented the country from being number two worldwide in crypto mining with 20% of the market share. The country also is ranked 10th in terms of transactions.

Take Away

New investment products have ups and downs. Regulations are clearly on their way in the crypto asset class, but an outright ban would seem to be more lip service from the Senate Banking Committee chair than something that may be implemented. The asset class has now become so entrenched in portfolios of so many in the US, including retirees, and so available outside US jurisdictions that it would seem that any measure to protect investors would be regulatory and implemented slowly.

Paul Hoffman

Managing Editor, Channelchek


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