On Thursday, cryptocurrency exchange platform Coinbase published its Digital Asset Policy Proposal, a document offering both a justification and conceptual framework for the comprehensive regulation of digital assets in the United States.
Coinbase presented the proposal as a product of dozens of meetings with industry participants, policymakers, crypto innovators and academics that the company’s representatives had held in the last several weeks.
The firm’s intention is for the proposal to “animate an open and constructive discussion regarding the role of digital assets in our shared economic future” and offer good-faith suggestions on what a sensible approach to crypto regulation might look like.
The document opens by enumerating the benefits of the emerging system of digital finance for both consumers (democratization of financial markets) and regulators (more transparency and new ways to combat illegal activity). The authors further maintain that laws drafted in the 1930s are a poor foundation for regulating the internet-native asset class, and that forcing digital assets into the legal framework developed before the computer age could lead to stifling crypto innovation in the U.S.
A more tailored and therefore more constructive approach, according to Coinbase, should rest on four key principles: defining a separate regulatory framework for digital assets; designating a single regulator to oversee digital asset markets; protecting and empowering holders and promoting interoperability and fair competition.
In a separate op-ed published on the same day in Wall Street Journal, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong argued that the proposed framework is not meant to benefit his company alone.
He maintained that, while Coinbase is big enough to absorb the costs of an unclear regulatory environment, it is smaller firms, retail consumers and the Unites States’s position as a global technology leader that stand to benefit from forward-looking regulation of the digital asset space.