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Former CFTC chairman says stablecoins can be a bridge between two worlds

The former chairman of the United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), Timothy Massad, highlighted the importance of government attention being paid to the stablecoin ecosystem in an interview with CNBC. 

On July 24, Massad told the CNBC interviewer that he sees stablecoins as a bridge between “the crypto world and the real world,” and that governments should not view them as a fad fated to disappear.

The ex-chairman said he is concerned that regulators are not properly addressing the risks of stablecoins; instead, they are kept out of the conversation due to the notion that they don’t work.

“I’m sympathetic to a lot of people in the government saying […] we’re not convinced of the use case here; we don’t really see what the value is in the real world,” he said, adding, “but sometimes it takes time to really discover that.”

Massad has been an outspoken advocate for crypto regulation and more cohesive collaboration between the CFTC and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) when it comes to digital assets. 

On July 24, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) — a national congressional watchdog agency — released a report on the use of blockchain in finance, echoing the sentiment for interagency cooperation on crypto regulations. 

Related: Korean banks research stablecoin, CBDC alternative

In the same CNBC interview, he highlighted that stablecoins could hold the potential to create faster payment mechanisms in the U.S. and that if the U.S. were to develop a stablecoin, it could lead other countries to do the same.

“I think the competition from stablecoins could be useful, again, if we address the risks, and they are significant.”

In addition to faster payment systems, he argued that stablecoins are already causing banks to consider their current operating systems and how they can be improved. 

Massad has previously criticized the U.S. for not creating a central bank digital currency (CBDC) fast enough.

These comments come as regulators in the U.S. continue to mull over regulations for the crypto industry, which include multiple bills that would affect stablecoin issuance and usage. 

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