House memo details Congress’ priorities ahead of crypto CEO hearing
The United States House Committee on Financial Services released a memorandum detailing the points of discussion during the hybrid hearing on digital assets, to be held today at 10:00 a.m. ET.
Addressing the members of the Financial Services Committee, the memo confirmed that the hearing will dedicate one panel to six executives from the crypto community as witnesses. The list includes Circle’s Jeremy Allaire, FTX’s Samuel Bankman-Fried, Bitfury Group’s Brian Brooks, Paxos’ Charles Cascarilla, Stellar’s Denelle Dixon and Coinbase’s Alesia Jeanne Haas.
The hearing, entitled “Digital Assets and the Future of Finance: Understanding the Challenges and Benefits of Financial Innovation in the United States,” seeks to discuss four key aspects related to crypto exchanges: stablecoin offerings, regulatory concerns in digital assets and federal regulatory responses.
The brief reads, “This hearing will examine some of the new products and services offered by major digital assets market participants, the role of cryptocurrency market exchanges in facilitating investments in cryptocurrency and related transactions, the growth of stablecoins and other digital assets, and the current regulatory landscape governing these new products and services.”
— U.S. House Committee on Financial Services (@FSCDems) December 1, 2021
While the memo highlights the role of exchanges in serving as an entry point for crypto investors, the hearing will also discuss decentralized finance, given its potential to “replicate and replace conventional delivery of financial services such as loans, asset trading, insurance, and other services.”
The document also talks about the differences in operational structures and reserve compositions of stablecoins as compared to fiat currency, adding:
“Cryptocurrency markets have no overarching and centralized regulatory framework, leaving investments in the digital assets space vulnerable to fraud, manipulation, and abuse. Digital assets and related service providers can present money laundering, terrorist financing, sanctions evasion, kleptocracy, and other illicit finance risks.”
Acknowledging the rise in cryptocurrencies, Congress hopes to develop a clear stance on central bank digital currencies (CBDC) based on the ongoing study conducted by the Federal Reserve to “examine the potential benefits and risks of CBDCs and its impact on the U.S. domestic payments system.”
Just yesterday, Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire released statements ahead of the hearing, stating:
“In a world where money becomes a core feature of the internet, the U.S. should aggressively promote the use of the dollar as the primary currency of the internet, and leverage that as a source of national economic competitiveness, security and a major upgrade needed for more efficient and inclusive financial services.”
Allaire’s firm Circle is the sole issuer of dollar-backed stablecoin USD Coin (USDC). He suggested that the U.S. government can make mainstream use of the stablecoin via dollar-denominated reserves. “Policy frameworks need to support an open and competitive playing field, and allow new technologies to flourish,” he added.