A trio of speakers in attendance at Industry Day, May 18, during the Bitcoin 2023 event in Miami held a discussion on government regulation and how the cryptocurrency industry should fight back against the “anti-crypto army.”
Moderated by David Zell, cofounder of the Bitcoin Policy Institute, the panel featured Perianne Boring, Founder and CEO at Chamber of Digital Commerce, Mina Khattak, Senior director of crypto and web3 at Worldpay, and Dana Syracuse, a partner at law firm Perkins Coie.
The discussion opened with Chamber of Digital Commerce’s Boring describing the current regulatory situation as “dire,” after placing part of the blame for the contentious nature of some of the discourse surrounding cryptocurrency regulation on the recent scandals in the space. “With a lot of negative headlines,” explained Boring, “there’ve been a lot of setbacks. And that’s given a lot of ammo to regulators to crack down.”
Boring also added that some politicians were seemingly dead set against the proliferation of cryptocurrency and DeFi tech because it “doesn’t necessarily fit into the vision or the goals for some politicians who believe this stuff should be controlled.” However, Boring expressed her belief that such challenges would be surmountable:
“I’m very confident we can overcome those because, at the end of the day, Bitcoin truly represents American values. What does Bitcoin actually do? It allows people to have ownership and control of their assets, their digital assets, for the first time in history.”
Dana Syracuse, Co-Chair of the Fintech Industry Group ad Co-Lead, Blockchain, Digital Assets & Custody at law firm Perkins Coie, followed up on Boring’s statements by stating his agreement, but also posing that it was “really important for the industry to not lose sight of … the amount of collaboration that a lot of regulators have done to date.”
In pointing out that there remained substantial work to be done concerning U.S. crypto regulation, Worldpay’s Mina Khattak described the current digital assets business climate as challenging for companies who might worry about an ever-shifting regulatory landscape.
Citing uneven SEC oversight, Khattak said “if you’re going to market with a partner and they might be hit with the Wells Notice, for example, that creates a lot of reputational risk for a web two company.”
While all three panelists were seemingly in agreement that regulatory issues were an important concern for the cryptocurrency space, none of them appeared to agree with the premise of the discussion.
When asked by moderator David Zell how the industry could “fight back” in Washington, Syracuse immediately responded “I don’t think it’s a fight. I don’t think it has to be antagonistic.” He continued that “even couching it in those rhetorical terms is dangerous at the end of the day.” Khattak, in her final remarks, also added it was her belief that the two most important ways to move forward with regulators is through education and collaboration.