February 5, 2023

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A congressman from Texas defended crypto exchanges as the ‘Babe Ruth’ of financial services and said regulation would undo progress in the industry | Currency News | Financial and Business News

The US Capitol.

  • Texas Republican Rep. Roger Williams compared crypto industry leaders to Babe Ruth.
  • He said crypto experts like FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried were paving a new path in the financial sector.
  • Bitfury Group’s Brian Brooks said the “way to win” at crypto is to safely bring people into the sector.

Leaders in the crypto industry are like baseball hall-of-famer Babe Ruth, according to Texas representative Roger Williams.

During a House Financial Services Committee hearing, Williams told the six crypto leaders who were testifying that they are paving a new path through the financial services sector, much like the so-called Great Bambino did with baseball in the early 1900s.

“Many of you are becoming the Babe Ruth in the financial space services space,” he told the panel, which included FTX Chief Executive Officer Sam Bankman-Fried and Coinbase CEO Alesia Jeanne Haas. 

Williams, a Republican, wondered whether heavy regulation would stifle innovation in the digital asset space and what negative consequences could result, saying “it would only take a few misguided curveballs from Washington to undo some of the progress you’ve all put into motion.”

In response, Brian Brooks, the CEO of Bitfury Group, said there are two ways to regulate the industry. The first is to prevent as many people as possible from facing volatility and risk in cryptocurrencies by making sure the only people with access can afford to lose money. In other words, “make sure that only the richest can access it,” he said. 

Or, according to Brooks, regulators could make cryptocurrencies safer, just as they did with equities by introducing products like mutual funds to allow individuals to invest without having to be experts. 

“The way to win,” he said in reference to the Babe Ruth metaphor, “is to bring more people into the system more safely, not to keep them out at their own peril.”

Congress and regulatory bodies like the US Securities and Exchange Commission have long been mulling how to create a policy framework for the crypto industry. Ahead of the hearing, which aimed to address the benefits and challenges of digital assets, the chief legal officer of Robinhood, Daniel Gallagher, said new crypto legislation wasn’t likely on the horizon because of the current “dynamic” in Congress, though the hearing would likely be useful for SEC chief Gary Gensler.