Commodities Futures and Trading Commissioner Rostin Behnam made a speech at the Blockchain Impact Summit held at the United Nations in New York. He backed cryptocurrencies as the next stage of technology's evolution and that they may help to solve poverty through connecting those who cannot access banks.
Behnam said: "But virtual currencies may – will – become part of the economic practices of any country, anywhere. Let me repeat that: these currencies are not going away and they will proliferate to every economy and every part of the planet. We are witnessing a technological revolution. Perhaps we are witnessing a modern miracle."
While traditional banking involves credit cards, physical banks and online banking; cryptocurrencies have the potential for banking with no more than a mobile phone. While there are digital debit cards, such as Revolut, cryptocurrencies like Electroneum (ETN) allow users to mine and spend ETN on their phones. Behnam argued that the proliferation of cell phones may be the key to connect those in poverty to means of financial payments.
Behnam continued: "The so-called “unbanked” could now be on the virtual grid. And, those without computers, some four billion people, could gain an important connection through cell phones."
"Blockchain is more than technology: it is an advance that reaches out into every aspect of life. We could use Blockchain to address the most basic, the most primal problems on our planet: corruption, income distribution, poverty, food, and healthcare. And, the fear billions of people experience every day as they try to survive."
Behnam also spoke about how the CFTC has been looking at regulation and what it can and cannot do. He said that the CFTC does not have jurisdiction over spot virtual currency platforms operating in the US but it does have authority to investigate fraud and manipulation.
He said that in the past few weeks, the CFTC has filed a "series of civil enforcement actions against perpetrators of fraud and market abuse involving virtual currency." The CFTC is working alongside the SEC in its targeting of fraudulent activity in the cryptocurrency market and this appears to match comments made by SEC commissioner Robert Jackson who refused to say that the SEC will crack down on all ICOs. The commissioner did confirm that the SEC will continue to target fraudulent activity.