At the Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany, Rob Joyce, the United States White House cyber-security coordinator and special assistant to the President, said that it doesn’t appear that US will be ready to regulate cryptocurrency at any point in the near future. In his remarks, he emphasized that the US needs to better understand the risks and benefits of implementing regulations.
“I think we’re still absolutely studying and understanding what the good ideas and bad ideas in that space are,” he said. “So, I don’t think it’s close.”
Given the complexity of the cryptocurrency markets, it’s clear that the approach to regulations is giving governments pause, as they attempt to fully understand the impact that cryptocurrencies could have on the financial markets, but also attempt to evaluate and categorize the variety of cryptocurrency offerings. It is also imperative that regulations be well thought out prior to implementation, as regulators would want to avoid any unintended consequences from imposing regulations or restrictions too hastily.
What remains clear are the issues with transparency and tracking cryptocurrency – governments are rightly concerned about the potential for misuse of these decentralized currencies. “We are worried. There are benefits to the bitcoin concept – digital cash, digital currencies,” Joyce said. “But at the same time, if you look at the way bitcoin works after there is a criminal act that takes place, you can’t rewind the clock and take back that currency.”
Previous statements given earlier this month by the chairman of the SEC, Jay Clayton, and the chairman of the CFTC, Christopher Giancarlo, echo the sentiment that the biggest concerns relating to cryptocurrency are fraud and criminal activity. The cryptocurrency community seems overwhelmingly in support of some regulations, as they are also concerned about the potential for misuse by bad actors in the industry, which taints public perception and causes harm to consumers and traders.
Joyce has worked for the National Security Agency (NSA) for 27 years, and as such, is committed to implementing a policy that incorporates strategy from a variety of sources, including: governments, private sector input, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
It is clear that most countries are working toward regulations regarding cryptocurrency, and that they are moving slowly in their efforts to fully understand the cryptocurrencies’ potential uses before moving forward. China seems to be set on banning cryptocurrency outright, although on the opposite end of the spectrum, Switzerland is seemingly crypto-friendly and just last week, issued guidelines for regulation of cryptocurrency.