WCL’S First Annual Virtual Currency Law, Regulation, and Policy Institute

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On Thursday, October 13, 2022, WCL’s Business Law Program and the Digital Asset Law Project hosted a hybrid event on new virtual currency regulations and the way forward in navigating this newly charged yet unclear financial and regulatory space. With an introduction by Professor V. Gerard Comizio, Associate Director of the Business Law Program, the event began with a fireside chat and interview with Commissioner Christy Goldsmith Romero, a current CTFC Commissioner nominated by President Biden. Commissioner Goldsmith Romero discussed the effects of the retail investor footprint on the CFTC’s approach to regulating digital assets, President Biden’s Executive Order 14067 on expanding access to “safe and affordable financial services,” and future federal legislations to promote responsible financial innovation and a more active role for the CFTC to regulate digital assets.

The interview was followed by two expert panel discussion featuring Andrew Siegel (‘94), General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer at Galaxy Digital; Lilya Tessler, Lead Partner at Sidley Austin LLP’s Fintech and Blockchain Group; Kari Larsen (‘98), Partner and co-head of Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP’s Digital Works Group; Katy Ryan, Partner at Buckley LLP’s Fintech Group; Brooke Ybarra, Senior Vice President of Innovation and Strategy at the American Bankers Association and head of their Office of Innovation; and Patrick McCarty, President and Founder of McCarty Financial and Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center. The first panel discussion was moderated by Lee Schneider (‘91), General Counsel for Ava Labs, and the second was moderated by Professor Heather Hughes, Professor of Law and Senior Associate Dean for Faculty and Academic Affairs at WCL. The distinguished panelists shared their insights on current regulation and where regulatory trends should be headed. The panels also had a very timely and interesting discussion on market integrity concerns, particularly in the realm of stablecoins and custody as there remains a lack of legal certainty and regulatory clarity.

The event ended with an interview with Brian Brooks, CEO of Bitfury Group and a former Acting Comptroller of the Currency. Brian discussed some of the fundamental challenges in the digital assets space, whether there is a need for a consolidated federal regulator and what the scope of such a comprehensive regulator would be, and the recent SEC enforcement action against Kim Kardashian under the agency’s anti-touting rules and its broader repercussions.

You may view a recording of the webinar here.