CFTC Commissioner Rostin Behnam instantly became everybody with a vested interest in cryptocurrency’s favorite person this week when he said on the subject: “We are witnessing a technological revolution. Perhaps we are witnessing a modern miracle.”
Right now, the crypto market is plodding along in a continued state of limbo. Every time Bitcoin increases a few dollars in value, we are desperately seeing it as a sign that the market will replicate the heroics of 2017, while the reality is BTC will be lucky to finish at half a price it peaked at last year.
Crypto Kicked By Ageing Relics
Our fledgling industry, recently and unfairly ostracized by social media powerhouses Google, Facebook and Twitter, also regularly receives a good kicking from aging relics like Warren Buffet, Charlie Munger, Bill Gates and most recently Jim Chanos, men who freely admit they know nothing about blockchain technology or cryptocurrency, yet see that as no reason why they can’t destroy its credibility.
However, just when you think there’s nobody out there who can see a good word about crypto, along comes Rostin Benham, who, with one incredible sentence, obliterates all the badness that came before, and makes us feel good about ourselves and our industry again. Well, almost.
“A Technological Revolution, A Modern Miracle”
CFTC (Commodity Futures Trading Commission) Commissioner Rostin Behnam is regarded as one of the most influential market regulators working in America today. A New York attorney, Benham previously worked at the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General, and as senior counsel to U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow.
On July 13, 2017, Behnam was nominated by President Trump for the role of Commissioner of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission,. The following month, Benham’s position was unanimously confirmed by the Senate. Commissioner Behnam’s term in the position will expire in June 2021.
2018 United Nations BFI Summit
On Monday, Commissioner Benham spoke before the BFI Summit at the United Nations. Among the subjects covered were the challenges his agency faced in regulating blockchain-based industries.
At that point, any members of the crypto-community who may have been in attendance no doubt held their breaths, ready for the inevitable verbal pummeling, but in never came.
Far from trashing the cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, Benham went the other way altogether and heaped praise upon the industry, and lauded its potential in the financial sector.
Here is a segment of what Commissioner Benham said at the BFI Summit on Monday:
“But virtual currencies may – will – become part of the economic practices of any country, anywhere. Let me repeat that: these currencies are not going away and they will proliferate to every economy and every part of the planet.”
“We are witnessing a technological revolution. Perhaps we are witnessing a modern miracle.”
Behnam also pointed out that in many parts of the world, decentralized and privately-issued cryptocurrencies would be more likely to replace traditional flat fiat currencies than central bank-backed digital currencies (CBDC):
“Some places, small economies, may become dependent on virtual assets for survival,” he said. “And, these currencies will be outside traditional monetary intermediaries, like government, banks, investors, ministries, or international organizations.”
Commissioner Behnam spoke with cautious optimism of a future where crypto-technology might lead to an equitable movement of wealth away from traditional powerbrokers and instead into the hands of the billions of people historically ignored by those in such positions of power:
“There are 6.8 billion cell phones in the world, almost one for every person on the planet. Here is our chance to put money directly into the hands of those who need it, without bribery, rake-offs, graft, and shakedowns. Virtual currencies could transform the economic and social landscape. It could mean a massive, and equitable, shift of wealth. Technology could be transformational, without a military take-over, civil war, or political or religious creed.”