Former CFTC Head Joins Law Company to Push for Digital Dollar

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by Teuta Franjkovic · 4 min read
Former CFTC Head Joins Law Company to Push for Digital Dollar
Photo: Willkie / Twitter

Former CFTC Chairman Christopher Giancarlo, known as “Crypto Dad”, is set to join Willkie Farr & Gallagher as its senior counsel and to lobby for blockchain-based digital dollar concept.

Ex. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo announced on Monday that had he decided to join the Willkie Farr & Gallagher law firm as its senior counsel.

Known as the “Crypto Dad” in the most of the crypto space Giancarlo said he will work on positions regarding the public policy that includes lobbying for blockchain-based digital dollar design, together with his work with the law firm’s clients.

He explained in an email that:

“After five years in public service at the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, I want to continue to help build the digital financial markets of the future. While assisting Willkie clients in their worldwide commercial ventures, I will further focus on key issues of public policy through writing and personal service on both public and private boards.”

“I will divide my time between assisting Willkie clients in their worldwide commercial ventures and focusing on key issues of public interest…Among other things, I will continue to advocate the development of a blockchain-based digital dollar and a new American lending benchmark to replace Libor”, added he.

Giancarlo recently proposed a blockchain protocol to digitize cash in order to enable the dollar to compete “in the new digital era.” He went into this project together with former LabCFTC executive Daniel Gorfine with the common vision that this USD-backed stablecoin becomes available for daily transactions both locally and outside the state. This program will, as explained by Giancarlo, created and administered by a non-governmental group and it would totally depend on participation from the Federal Reserve, commercial banks, nonbank third parties, technology companies and social media platforms.

Even though this new currency would rely itself on “trusted, regulated intermediaries to maintain digital wallets and validate transactions,” this distributed ledger payment system would have several hold leads over the traditional monetary system.

Giancarlo and Gorfine mentions the faster transaction speeds, possibility to make micropayments, as well as higher security and transparency enabled by cryptocurrencies.

The main idea is to begin with some sort of a pilot, however, both Giancarlo and Gorfine are aware that “no perfect solution exists to address the challenges and promises of digital currency, nor can anyone predict all the technological advances these efforts will generate.”

When talking about practice, cash exchanged for this digital money could be guaranteed by the Fed. Both men point to the probability of having more wallet issuers.

Giancarlo and Gorfine also warned that nowadays experiments with cryptocurrencies that has been ongoing by central banks and some companies could “erode the dollar’s status as the most popular currency for international exchange.”

The risks of letting the dollar lose its monetary predominance are systematic. Stability of prices, attempts to fight illegal finance and the world’s appetite for U.S. government debt could be stalling.

In his email Monday, Giancarlo said he plans to continue lobbying for the digital dollar’s evolution, together with the American substitution to the London Inter-bank Offered Rate (LIBOR).

He wrote:

“I expect soon to announce additional leadership roles in enterprises engaged in financial trading markets and digital commerce.”

Since he left the CFTC, Giancarlo has joined the Chamber of Digital Commerce as an advisor. He also joined the board of the American Financial Exchange, which sponsors Ameribor, a LIBOR alternative, and Ameribor Futures.

While he was working for the agency, Giancarlo advocated for a soft regulatory perspective on the cryptocurrency sector while testifying before Congress, earning honor from industry members.

Under his residence, the first Bitcoin futures and options products in the U.S. were endorsed from firms as are CME, Cboe and LedgerX. Other companies have also revealed their objectives to launch similar products with Bakkt that went out with its own physically-settled Bitcoin futures in September 2019.

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