The chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) said this week that cryptocurrency is a generational interest and that regulators need to treat it with respect.
J. Christopher Giancarlo, who was sworn in as a CFTC commissioner in 2014 and has led the commission since August 2017, shared his thoughts on cryptocurrency regulation at the Milken Institute Global Conference, which took place this week in Los Angeles.
“We need to take a moment and respect this generation’s interest in this new instrument (bitcoin),” he said, according to a Reuters report. “Not with derision, but with a little bit of attention and respect and respond with policy initiatives that really are thoughtful and forward looking.”
Giancarlo — who says he will retire after his five-year term ends next April and President Trump appoints a successor — compared consumer interest in bitcoin to the “cultural change” that the baby boomers instituted when they arrived on the scene in the mid-20th century.
He explained that younger investors have much less respect for mainstream financial institutions due to growing up amidst the financial crisis and said that they see bitcoin as a way to remove these middlemen from the economic supply chain.
“There is something going on here that is generational. Just as the baby boomer generation lost faith in the leaders that came before them and tried to seek a cultural change in those days through sex, drugs and rock and roll, I think there is a generation that also has lost faith in us that led them through the financial crisis and they see technology as a way of disintermediating institutions for which they don’t have a great deal of respect.
Giancarlo has issued similarly-conciliatory statements about cryptocurrency investors on multiple occasions, beginning with his remarks before a Senate committee hearing earlier this year.
His heartfelt opening statement at that hearing earned him the nickname “Cryptodad,” and he has taken to using the hashtag #cryptodad when he tweets about cryptocurrency.
Earlier this week, Giancarlo said that bitcoin was “like gold” in several respects, even though it is perhaps not ideal as a medium of exchange.