A strange thing happened on the way to the decentralized digital currency revolution: a cop – a regulator – seems to have salvaged bitcoin’s giant crash. Less than 24 hours after a 65 percent drop in bitcoin’s price, hysteria from all corners, no less than one man, the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) chair, J. Christopher Giancarlo, brought the couch-fainting, pearl-clutching community hope.
Bitcoin Hero, J. Christopher Giancarlo
No one in the ecosystem was excited that two of bitcoin’s main regulators, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and CFTC chairs were headed up to the United States Senate for a hearing in front of the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. At issue was the future of regulation, and as luck would have it crypto had taken a giant dump and the US stock market dropped as well a day before. Politicians love to throw themselves between a crisis, and it being an election year, a perfect storm for headlines such as “crackdown” seemed to be brewing.
And then it didn’t happen.
Remarks published the night before spoke to a rather reasoned position, if government regulation is assumed, on the part of both agencies. But that didn’t mean both men wouldn’t fold once questions came from the senate. There was still plenty to be nervous about.
And then it didn’t happen, again.
When the opening statement from CFTC chair J. Christopher Giancarlo met the microphone, something incredible happened: the seasoned regulator seemed human. He spoke of a deep empathy sweeping his personal experience, one in which his children and extended family were involved with bitcoin. It was, he said, time to value their enthusiasm, to not confuse them with popular conceptions of fraud or crime. He’d later even enter the neologism “Hodl” into the formal congressional record.
Where the hell did this guy come from?
The dapper 58-year-old Obama appointee in fashion-forward frames assumed his slot back in 2014, long before bitcoin futures were so much as a glimmer in anyone’s eyes. He was born and raised in New Jersey, and eventually earned his juris doctorate before gaining executive spots in the private sector, much of it software related and tech oriented.
He’s married, has three kids, and plays banjo well enough to have it recorded and be part of a band. His remarks on 6 February, embedded for you here, are worth hearing in context. It is clear he understands the import of bitcoin, its importance, even if he’s quite unsure about its future and his agency’s ultimate role in shaping the asset going forward.
And maybe too much as been made of his positive statements and the correlation to bitcoin prices rebounding near minutes after he uttered them. Maybe. But the man owns a 1973 Buick convertible. Your argument is invalid.