At a Symposium today on The Future of Cryptoasset Regulation, former United States Commodities Futures Trading Commission Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo called on Congress to “establish a national crypto policy framework that allows ordinary and non-wealthy citizens to engage in digital asset investment and risk exposure in an informed and self-directed manner.” Giancarlo delivered the keynote address for the Symposium, which was sponsored by the Rutgers Law School Center for Corporate Law and Governance, the Rutgers Business Law Review, and the Rutgers Institute for Continuing Legal Education.

Noting that “no federal market regulator has comprehensive jurisdiction over crypto asset trading in the United States,” Giancarlo also called on Congress to “close the regulatory gap over spot crypto commodities with the oversight of the world’s most experienced and successful crypto regulator, the CFTC.” He conditioned his support for expansion of the CFTC’s authority, however, on “congressional authorization of crypto market self-regulation” by a self-regulatory organization (or SRO) with the power to set rules and standards over its members – similar to The New York Stock Exchange, the NASDAQ, and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). As he explained, “authorizing an SRO with industry member funding would ensure that taxpayers would not bear large additional costs for crypto oversight. It would also support regulatory efficiency, allowing the CFTC and other Federal agencies to conserve limited resources for highest-priority concerns.”

Giancarlo also said that “there is an important role for the legal academy and this institution, the Rutgers Law School Center for Corporate Law and Governance, in bringing together the legacy financial system and the new architecture of decentralized trust in a way that enhances political legitimacy among a generation nurtured on the Internet, tomorrow’s heirs of today’s financial system. I believe that, if we act now, together, we can harness this wave of innovation for far greater financial inclusion, capital and operational efficiency, and economic growth for generations to come. Let’s work on it together.”

Giancarlo is Senior Counsel to the international law firm, Willkie Farr & Gallagher. He is also the author of “CryptoDad – The Fight for the Future of Money,’ an account of his oversight of the world’s first regulated market for Bitcoin derivatives and the coming transformation of financial services, including the most valuable thing of all: money.