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Regulatory Developments in Digital Assets

The Regulatory Landscape is Changing for Digital Assets

Barron's Pepe Cover
Barron’s Pepe Cover

By John Sarson and Zach Profeta, Sarson Funds, Inc.

The Future of Finance is upon us! The digital financial epoch is burgeoning, morphing with each legislative tweak and technological innovation. In the United States, the regulatory tapestry surrounding digital assets is gradually being woven, thanks to recent legislative endeavors. Make no mistake about it, the same pioneering legal efforts that may seem to outside observers like a bit of a circus at times, are establishing the foundational legal frameworks crucial for the thriving digital asset ecosystem and are heralding a new era of regulatory transparency in the digital frontier.

Legislative Progress: Three Bills in Focus

The bustling corridors of the U.S. House Financial Services Committee have recently echoed with debates surrounding digital asset regulations. Three significant bills have navigated through the legislative channels, each carrying a promise of clarity in the murky waters of digital asset regulation. The initial bill is an endeavor to classify cryptocurrencies either as securities or commodities, a critical distinction that would determine the regulatory compass guiding them. By suggesting a more pronounced oversight by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), it aspires to unblur the operational landscape for industry players, who have often found themselves at loggerheads with the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) broad stroke classification of cryptocurrencies as securities.

Meanwhile, the Senate has rekindled the discourse with the reappearance of the Lummis-Gillibrand Crypto Bill. An exhaustive document teeming with proposals set to redefine the U.S. crypto regulatory landscape. Among its extensive provisions, it advocates for fortified oversight of crypto markets by the CFTC. A mandatory proof of reserves for stablecoin issuers, registration requisites for U.S. crypto exchanges, and a circumscribed stablecoin issuance directive towards banks or credit unions. Furthermore, it outlines the risk disclosure mandates for crypto entities and sets aside a significant financial reserve for the enforcement of these novel policies, marking a robust stride towards a structured digital asset ecosystem, and promising a more stable regulatory environment for digital asset enthusiasts and investors alike.

In tandem, a bill entitled the Clarity for Payment 5 Stablecoins Act of 2023, is crafting a sturdy federal scaffold for stablecoins. Aiming to delineate the guidelines for their issuance while ensuring the authority of state regulators remains unscathed. This bill, despite advancing to the full House, finds itself in turbulent waters as it faces stringent opposition from the committee’s senior Democrat, Maxine Waters. This reflects the intricate dance of differing opinions within the regulatory bodies. A testament to the complex nature of crypto regulation, and a glimpse into the diverse perspectives that shape the legislative discourse.

Not Waiting for Permission: PayPals Stablecoin Venture

In an emblematic venture, PayPal, once a harbinger of financial innovation, unveiled its stablecoin, PayPal USD ($PYUSD). This initiative marks PayPal’s voyage into the digital financial domain as a Traditional Finance (TradFi) entity. A significant milestone in the evolving financial narrative. The $PYUSD, housed on the Ethereum blockchain as an ERC-20 token by Paxos Trust Company. It stands as a bridge between the conventional financial mechanisms and the agile blockchain protocols.  The early acceptance of PayPal’s stablecoin by major crypto exchanges and the NY Department of Finance seem to indicate that PayPal’s bold move into crypto will become a successful venture for the firm.

The advent of $PYUSD opens a gateway of interoperability within web3 environments. Heralding a foreseeable future where such integrations could morph into a norm rather than an exception. Rising interest rates have painted a lucrative picture for stablecoin issuers like PayPal. Hinting at a possible trend of U.S. asset-backed stablecoins entering the market, further intertwining the realms of traditional finance and digital assets. This narrative portrays a seamless blend of traditional financial methodologies with modern digital asset innovations. Promising a symbiotic relationship that could catalyze a new era of financial solutions.

Bitcoin ETF Momentum Flip?  And Confidence Lost in the SEC?

The plot around the SEC’s nod for a spot Bitcoin ETF continues to thicken. With several financial powerhouses like Fidelity, WisdomTree, and BlackRock in the queue. Congress now actively and aggressively questioning the SEC on their decision to delay approval any further. Despite the whirlpool of speculation, the SEC’s verdict remains a highly anticipated event. Implications poised to ripple through the Bitcoin market, reflecting the intertwined fate of regulatory decisions and market behavior. This lingering anticipation underscores the consequential impact of regulatory decisions on the digital asset market. Which showcases the breadth of institutional interest in digital assets. At Sarson Funds we believe that many institutional investors remain under allocated to Bitcoin. The introduction of a Bitcoin ETF would garner significant interest and investment in the emergent asset class.

Disclosures: Not investment advice. It should be assumed that Sarson Funds or its affiliated managers hold positions in all projects that are discussed. It is not possible to invest in any project directly through Sarson Funds, Inc. or its affiliated managers. Any investment product offered by managers affiliated with Sarson Funds should be assumed to be only available to Accredited Investors and subject to the individual terms and conditions of that offering including but not limited to those eligibility requirements associated with U.S. Securities Regulation D, section 506c. Talk with your financial advisor before making any investment decisions or have them contact Sarson Funds directly at info@sarsonfunds.com

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