Defi Can Strengthen the United States’ Leadership in Tech and Financial Services, CFTC Report Says
Decentralized finance projects and their respective ecosystems potentially offer both promising opportunities and risks to the U.S. financial system, a Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) study has found. The CFTC study report recommends conducting a gap analysis against current capabilities and capacity and addressing critical gaps with more funding, personnel, and tools.
Decentralized Finance Can Help Narrow the Financial Exclusion Gap
According to a study conducted by the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, decentralized finance (defi) potentially brings with it both promising opportunities as well as risks “to the U.S. financial system, consumers, and national security.” Regarding the benefits, the Commission’s study report states that defi can offer opportunities ranging from greater transparency and efficiency to expanded access to basic financial products.
Decentralized finance projects or ecosystems can leverage their open technological architecture to provide financial products and services to virtually anyone, especially in jurisdictions where large populations are excluded from the financial system.
The study also found that decentralized finance can help strengthen the United States’ leadership in technology and the provision of financial services. According to the findings, strengthening the United States leadership is especially important now when countries like China have invested in technologies that not only seek to diminish their reliance on the dollar-based financial system but to challenge it.
However, the report also concluded that in the absence of “effective” regulation, enforcement, and compliance, decentralized finance projects and ecosystems will remain “vulnerable to fraud, mismanagement, and serious regulatory violations.” Also compounding matters are what the CFTC calls periods of extremely high market volatility which ultimately expose users and stakeholders to significant losses.
Many Defi Platforms are Neither Fully Decentralized nor Fully Centralized
Meanwhile, in her remarks accompanying the study report, CFTC Commissioner Christy Goldsmith Romero stated that the findings provide regulators with a foundational understanding of defi. In addition to outlining the benefits and risks of decentralized finance, the study report also notes that many defi platforms are neither fully decentralized nor fully centralized.
According to Goldsmith, an understanding of these aspects of decentralized finance and the defi ecosystem should help both regulators and industry players find common ground.
“I hope that this report can serve as a first step to facilitate a dialogue between policymakers and industry particularly because defi remains at the center of illicit finance risks, cyber hacks and theft,” the CFTC Commissioner said.
Besides identifying the benefits and risks posed by defi, the study report also recommends steps stakeholders should take to mitigate risks to investors, market integrity, and financial stability.
One of the recommendations calls for increased technical capacity and understanding of defi as well as mapping the existing landscape to measure and highlight interconnections and threat vectors. The report also recommends conducting a gap analysis against current capabilities and capacity and addressing critical gaps with more funding, personnel, and tools.
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