CFTC chair says blockchain tech could overtake internet

US Commodity Futures Trading Commission chair Heath Tarbert joined CNBC’s “The Exchange” for an interview on digital assets. Here are some of the highlighted quotes:

Importance of US leadership in development of digital assets: “I want the United States to lead, particularly in the blockchain technology that underlies digital assets … [U]ltimately I could see it overtaking the internet or being effectively parallel to the internet in using a variety of different kinds of transactions, not just the financial system, but in other types of transactions as well … I think whoever ends up leading in this technology will end up writing the rules of the road for the rest of the world. My emphasis is on making sure that the United States is a leader.

On the differences between regulating bitcoin and Libra: “They’re fundamentally different products … and I think we also know how bitcoin works. As you say, it has been around for ten years and we have a good idea of how it works and we’re able to classify that not as a security but a commodity, whereas Libra is developing. And there’s a bunch of unanswered questions and also the way that it is structured, linking it directly to a set of national currencies. It’s a very different product.”

On the administration’s view of digital assets: “[M]any of the concerns that Secretary Mnuchin has I have as well in terms of anti-money laundering, making sure that these markets continue to have integrity. So I don’t think there’s actually any space between us. It’s just that for those that are commodities regulated by us, we want to make sure we create an environment where these markets have integrity and we’re able to regulate them and they’re able to innovate.”

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