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| April 24, 2018

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Hearing Archives -

Pompeo Breaks With Trump on Russia During Senate Hearing

April 12, 2018 |

Aiming to quell concerns before what is likely to be a narrow confirmation vote, Secretary of State-designate Mike Pompeo vowed on Thursday to ramp up efforts against Russia in “each place we confront them.” But he ducked and dodged when asked whether he supports President Donald Trump’s pounding criticism of…

Mark Zuckerberg Gets Grilled in Congressional Hearing Round 2

April 12, 2018 |

Mark Zuckerberg appeared to endure a tougher round of questioning in the House of Representatives on Wednesday than he did Tuesday in the Senate. While CNN called Tuesday’s Senate hearing on the Cambridge Analytica data privacy scandal “softball,” the Facebook CEO received a more intense grilling in the House about…

Musician’s Landmark Win: Orchestra Ruined My Hearing

March 29, 2018 |

A viola player in Britain has won an unusual legal case against the Royal Opera House seen as groundbreaking in the music industry. Chris Goldscheider says he got blasted so loudly by the brass section during a 2012 rehearsal that it permanently wrecked his hearing and ended his music career,…

Senate Releases Testimonies Ahead of Crypto Hearing

February 6, 2018 |

Senate Releases Testimonies Ahead of Crypto Hearing

A day before a landmark hearing, a day with screaming headlines about the US stock market’s historic dump, not to mention bitcoin’s 65 percent fire sale, the United States Senate released formal testimony of Chairs from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Heads of both entities will testify Tuesday 6 February before the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs to discuss the future of regulating cryptocurrencies. After today, they’re going to have plenty to discuss.  

Also read: Market Risk Advisory Committee: Bitcoin Futures Self-Certification Works

Senate Testimony of SEC Chair Clayton

Bitcoiners are looking for any signs of positive news at this point. Set for a 10am Winter hearing Tuesday in the United States Senate Dirksen office building, two of the most powerful regulators in the cryptocurrency space will formally enter their testimony. Titled, Virtual Currencies: The Oversight Role of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, both Jay Clayton of the SEC and the CFTC’s J. Christopher Giancarlo will face lawmakers who are openly worried about the brave new future of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.

This particular committee is chaired by Mike Crapo and ranking member Sherrod Brown, and is made up of 23 members total (12 Republican, 11 Democrat). In the US, each state, of which there are 50, receive 2 Senate seats, making the upper, more deliberative body a pound-for-pound most powerful institution in a nation of more than 325 million people. That a quarter of the Senate gets a chance to weigh in on the topic of bitcoin and cryptocurrency, less than 24 hours after one of its biggest crashes, is bound to make news. It’s also a highly charged political year, as Republicans have a hold on the Senate majority heading into the November off-year elections, and both parties are looking for the slightest vulnerability in the other.

Senate Releases Testimonies Ahead of Important Crypto Hearing
Mr. Clayton’s testimony

Chairman Jay Clayton of the SEC, 51, was nominated by President Trump over a year ago and assumed office last Summer. The SEC had been largely hands-off in the crypto space, and was notoriously reticent about its supposed role in bitcoin’s mainstreaming. No more. Under Mr. Clayton, the SEC became very active late last year, prosecuting bad actors and making more public statements than in prior years. It has slowed approval of what many believed would be key to the digital asset’s success, bitcoin ETFs.

Chair Clayton’s formal testimony entered into the record of the Senate, and pro-forma released to the public a day prior, is a Rorschach test for readers. Bitcoiners can take away a largely balanced, unsurprising approach from the SEC: the agency feels well entitled to regulate the space where it finds securities, especially when it comes to initial coin offerings and other less tested leveraging mechanisms. “I am particularly concerned,” Mr. Clayton wrote, “about market participants who extend to customers credit in U.S. dollars – a relatively stable asset – to enable the purchase of cryptocurrencies, which, in recent experience, have proven to be a more volatile asset.” But he didn’t put the kibosh on ICOs altogether, insisting, “It is possible to conduct an offer and sales of securities, including an ICO, without triggering the SEC’s registration requirements,” believing “an ICO that is a security can be structured so that it qualifies.”

Senate Releases Testimonies Ahead of Important Crypto Hearing
Jay Clayton

Leave it to States or Feds?

For those unfamiliar with the US concept of federalism, regulation can, and often is, left to the 50 states to work out under general federal guidelines. Some feel this approach is in line with historic governance of the country, while others appreciate 50 laboratories of different methodologies. It’s a version of subsidiarity, whereby the larger national government allows lawmakers closest to the ground their chance at solving whatever issue particular to regional concerns. On broadening federal law to blanket all crypto assets, the Chair hinted to being “open to exploring with Congress, as well as with our federal and state colleagues, whether increased federal regulation of cryptocurrency trading platforms is necessary or appropriate.” For Wall Street, this could be especially good news, considering their penchant for uniformity and expedience. It’s more difficult to say how bitcoiners will interpret the notion.

Furthermore, the Chair assumes “U.S.-based cryptocurrency trading platforms have elected to be regulated as money-transmission services,” his written remarks revealed, “these predominantly state-regulated payment services have not been subject to direct oversight by the SEC or the CFTC” as of the present hearing. That could be a signal for some kind of hole lawmakers at the federal level might feel the need to fill.

Senate Releases Testimonies Ahead of Important Crypto Hearing

Significantly, the Chair has, especially in previous published comments, wondered aloud about which cryptos fall where on the regulatory scale, and bitcoiners have largely appreciated his awareness of the distinction. In a market where anything is called a cryptocurrency, even a project with only a PDF and no blockchain, the SEC head seems to understand they’re not all equal. There “are cryptocurrencies that, at least as currently designed, promoted and used, do not appear to be securities,” he clarified. Encouragingly, he briefly outlined how “determining what falls within the ambit of a securities offer and sale is a facts-and-circumstances analysis,” noting how “utilizing a principles-based framework…has served American companies and American investors well through periods of innovation and change for over 80 years.” Bitcoiners might be overjoyed to learn the SEC considers crypto possibly one of those “periods of innovation.”

Careful to not come off Panglossian, Mr. Clayton takes into account the very real concerns of lawmakers going forward. However, “These warnings are not an effort to undermine the fostering of innovation through our capital markets – America was built on the ingenuity, vision and spirit of entrepreneurs who tackled old and new problems in new, innovative ways,” he stressed.

The 71 page document has much more to say, and a great deal of it will be brought out through questioning by lawmakers, but, at least for now, bitcoiners can rest easier knowing no imminent Chinese crackdown is coming to the United States. These pages, of course, will have continued coverage of the hearing as it unfolds. 

What do you think of the SEC Chair’s testimony? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Pixabay, SEC.

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The post Senate Releases Testimonies Ahead of Crypto Hearing appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

Trump’s Wells Fargo tweet cited in court hearing as reason to remove Mulvaney as CFPB acting chief

December 22, 2017 |

A recent tweet by President Trump about possible penalties against Wells Fargo & Co. was cited during a court hearing Friday as a reason for removing White House official Mick Mulvaney as acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The attorney for Leandra English — the bureau’s…

L.A. Times – Business


Jennifer Hudson Silent About David Otunga’s Hearing

November 27, 2017 |

Jennifer Hudson isn’t dishing much these days in the midst of a custody battle … except a courteous hello. We got Jennifer at LAX Sunday where we asked her about her baby daddy David Otunga’s upcoming hearing in which he’ll ask a judge…

Zimbabwe President Mugabe resigns amid impeachment hearing, Parliament speaker says

November 21, 2017 |

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe resigned Tuesday, ending nearly four decades of rule in the southern African country.
FOX News

6 Big Lines From Facebook’s Congressional Hearing

November 1, 2017 |

After revealing that content created by a Russian internet agency ahead of the 2016 election may have reached up to 126 million users , Facebook—joined by Twitter and Google—went in front of a Senate subcommittee Tuesday to explain what it’s done and what it can do to stop foreign…

Facebook announces new ad transparency before Russia hearing

October 27, 2017 |

Under pressure in advance of hearings on Russian election interference, Facebook is moving to increase transparency for everyone who sees and buys political advertising on its site.

Executives for the social media company said Friday they will verify political ad buyers in federal elections, requiring…

L.A. Times – Business

At Senate hearing, Wells Fargo CEO to vow reforms well underway following accounts scandal

October 2, 2017 |

Wells Fargo Chief Executive Timothy Sloan is expected to tell a Senate committee Tuesday that the San Francisco bank has made substantial progress in reforming itself following its accounts scandal.

Sloan will testify before the Banking Committee following the one-year anniversary of the disclosure…

L.A. Times – Business