In an exclusive interview with Quartz, assistant US Attorney Kathryn Haun has answered some questions about how she sees cryptocurrency progressing into the future.
Ironically, Haun was a prolific figure in many historic cryptocurrency criminal investigations, including the prosecution of corrupt federal agents for their involvement with silk road and a huge criminal investigation into Ripple in 2015.
Until last year, Haun was the head of the US Government cryptocurrency task force so was heavily involved in the investigation of illicit blockchain activities. Therefore, you might assume she would take a very hostile stance towards cryptocurrencies but actually, Haun’s super keen on them.
According to Quartz:
“Despite Haun’s experience with the crooks and scammers in the bitcoin world, she emerged as a vocal supporter of cryptocurrencies. Her time in government also made her a sought-after interpreter of regulatory trends affecting the crypto world. After leaving the Justice Department last May, she now teaches a class on cryptocurrency at Stanford’s business school, with economist Susan Athey, and sits on the board of Coinbase, one of the biggest crypto exchanges.”
Whilst it seems like a conflict of interest, it does make sense for somebody to be involved in cryptocurrencies at such a deep level to become an advocate of the technology. Through her intricate investigations, Haun has become attuned to the benefits of cryptocurrencies and this stands as one of the most important voices to listen to when it comes to matters concerning the safety of users and the integrity of the industry.
You can read the full interview transcript here- https://qz.com/1236501/the-woman-who-once-policed-the-crypto-world-for-the-us-government-says-a-crackdown-is-coming/
What I want to do however is analyse Haun’s response to the following question:
What’s your gut feeling at the moment on the future of crypto regulation?
(See the full response on the article, it’s about a third of the way down the page).
Haun, rightly points out that there should be a separation between ICO’s and cryptocurrencies, this is because Haun believes that authorities are going to really clamp down on this, Haun says:
“People in the ICO space are just focused on the Securities Exchange Commission [SEC], but all along I’ve said more agencies than just the SEC are going to be involved in bringing actions against ICOs. I mean Treasury, Commodity Futures Trading Commission [CFTC], Justice Department, possibly the Federal Trade Commission and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and not to mention state attorneys general, or state regulators. And this is just in the US.”
Haun seems to be teetering on the idea that regulation will hit cryptocurrency markets but that generally, the authorities are wanting to clamp down on ICO’s, this is because of the money raising potential ICO’s pose. Many, are get rich quick schemes and as we know host fraudulent potentials.
What approach does Haun expect authorities to take?
“I think a regulatory hotspot is ICOs. I think that’s where we’re going to see the regulatory action. Factors that the government will typically, but not exclusively look to: They would look to size; how much money was raised? Whether there was any product already built; did investors lose money? And atmospherics: We’ve seen a lot of investigative reporting. Regulators also read the news.”
I would recommend reading the whole interview, it provides some great insight into Haun’s story and Haun’s future expectations.
She does speak with great authority and I do believe that yes authorities will start to clamp down on ICO’s, if Haun thinks this is the way forward for authorities, then I’d say she stands in a very good position to make these predictions.
Of course, the impact that pressure on ICO’s may have on the rest of the crypto-sphere means that maybe, some legitimate start-ups may struggle to raise funds, but, providing the authorities investigations are thorough and everyone follows the rules, if this indeed is the case, clamping down on rogue ICO’s will only have a good impact on the cryptocurrency industry.
Quartz have done us a huge service with this interview, its enlightening, interesting and provides a promising outlook for the future of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies.