The murmur of New York City lawyers subsided as representatives of the three largest United States financial regulators were introduced onstage at a meeting of the city’s prestigious bar association, which serves 24,000 members.
One voice rose up above the crowd: “Chinese regulators are the most closed to cryptocurrency,” the voice said. “The United States is, well, confused.”
Facing the crowd of 200 now-silent lawyers, the regulators seemed steeled to present a unified front, even if the audience member’s comment fell on deaf ears.
After years of watching the $346 billion cryptocurrency industry and preparing from the sidelines, the regulators from the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (Finra) recently released a flurry of guidance statements.
But in the face of demand that seems to exceed the agencies’ resources, it has become increasingly important that they cooperate and coordinate investigations and actions.
Speaking on a panel about the various regulatory perspectives on cryptocurrencies, their underlying blockchain technology and the resulting fundraising mechanisms called initial coin offerings (ICOs), the head of the SEC’s newly created cyber unit, Robert Cohen, explained why agency cooperation was so important.