Ahead of the long-anticipated public listing for his company, Coinbase’s CEO Brian Armstrong asserted that US regulators are wrong in believing cryptocurrencies are primarily used for illicit transactions. He added that the industry wants to be treated on the same playing field as traditional finance when it comes down to legislative frameworks.
Armstrong on Crypto Misconceptions
The belief that digital assets are mainly used for illegal transactions has been going on for years, perhaps since bitcoin’s usage in some dark web marketplaces starting almost a decade ago. Regulators have used it as a good bashing point, and US-based watchdogs have been at the forefront of those attacks.
US Treasury Secretary, Janet Yellen, has repeatedly outlined the alleged massive usage of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for terrorist financing, Ponzi schemes, buying illegal goods, and everything in between. Naturally, the Treasury’s FinCEN department proposed quite restrictive legislation, which, however, has been indefinitely postponed.
Brian Armstrong, the CEO of the largest US-based crypto exchange preparing for its direct listing today, touched upon these concerns during a CNBC interview. However, he asserted that cash and even the highly-regulated banking sector are more frequently utilized in illegal transactions than crypto.
He referred to a report published today by the recently launched Crypto Council for Innovation indicating that “less than 1%” of all digital asset transactions have illicit roots. Simultaneously, PwC estimations showed that the percentage is more than 4x higher with the traditional economy, and more specifically cash.
“The data we have just indicates that crypto is really not uniquely crime written. In fact, the data suggests it’s better than cash in that regard.”
Treat us Equally
Armstrong further outlined the significance of adequate regulation for his company, especially now that it will become public, but also for the entire industry. He suggested that the US should treat the crypto space as other financial sectors.
“We want to be treated on the level playing field with traditional financial services at the very least and not have any kind of punishment for being in the crypto space.”
He also joined Kraken’s CEO, Jesse Powell, saying that the world’s largest country by nominal GDP risks falling further behind other nations, such as China, in terms of crypto and blockchain adoption.
“China has really embraced cryptocurrency and blockchain in a big way – starting from about six years ago. They are substantially far ahead.” – Armstrong added.