Former regulator known as “Crypto Dad” to launch the Think Tank Digital-Dollar

A former senior US financial regulator called “Crypto Dad” for his adoption of cryptocurrencies is creating a group of experts to promote the idea of ​​digitizing the US dollar.

J. Christopher Giancarlo,

who resigned as chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission last year, said he was creating the non-profit Digital Dollar Foundation to study the conversion of the dollar into a completely electronic currency based on blockchain, the technology that underpins Bitcoin .

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The United States runs the risk of losing the advantages it enjoys having the dominant global currency if it lags behind rivals such as China, which is working on the creation of a digital yuan, Giancarlo wrote in an opinion article published on The Wall Street Journal in October.

“As with the physical infrastructure of this country, if it is not modernized and kept up with the times, those strengths will begin to weaken,” he said in an interview this week.

Central banks around the world have been excited about the idea of ​​converting traditional paper-based coins and coins into digital currencies. They would be like bitcoin, but with the backing of a central bank and greater government supervision.

The digitization of the dollar could accelerate the processing of financial transactions, while providing officials with better tools to pursue money launderers. But such a change raises thorny political issues, including the future of financial privacy in a world in which all transactions can be traced electronically.

In an original WSJ documentary, market journalist Steven Russolillo ventures to Japan and Hong Kong to explore the universe of cryptocurrencies. Its mission: to create WSJCoin, a virtual token for the journalistic industry. Image: Crystal Tai Video: Clément Bürge

Putting the dollar in the blockchain is probably a one-year task and a great transition for anyone who is used to having cash. Some skeptics also fear that they may allow hackers to steal digital money.

Depending on how a digital dollar is deployed, private sector entities could benefit, especially if they forge partnerships with the United States Federal Reserve in the process. The People’s Bank of China is working with several banks and online payment services to issue digital yuan, according to media reports.

Global Consulting Giant

Accenture

PLC is supporting the new foundation of Mr. Giancarlo and its main initiative, called the Digital Dollar Project, company representatives said. The project will encourage research and debate about the advantages of digitizing the dollar. It was officially released on Thursday, after The Wall Street Journal first reported the plans.

The other founders of the Digital Dollar Foundation are

Daniel Gorfine,

a former CFTC official who led the investigation of the regulator on financial technology, and Mr. Giancarlo’s brother

Charles Giancarlo

a longtime Silicon Valley executive who has worked for

Cisco Systems Inc.

and private equity firm Silver Lake Partners.

The Giancarlos and Mr. Gorfine are providing the initial funds for the foundation. Accenture’s main role will be to provide research and logistical support, company representatives said. The consulting giant has worked with central banks in Canada, the European Union and Singapore on digital currency initiatives. Last month, Sweden’s central bank said it would work with Accenture on a pilot project to develop e-krona, a digital version of the Swedish currency.

Giancarlo, a Republican, led the CFTC from January 2017 to July 2019, a period that overlapped with inflation and the deflation of a large bitcoin speculative bubble. The CFTC supervises the futures and derivatives markets, including the new markets for bitcoin futures that were launched during Mr. Giancarlo’s presidency. He won fans in the community of cryptocurrency users of libertarian tendency praising technology as a form of financial innovation at a time when other regulators were more skeptical.

That earned him the nickname “Crypto Dad” on Twitter and an unlikely rock star status in his visits to cryptocurrency and blockchain conferences. Mr. Giancarlo is 60 years old.

In September, he became an advisor to the Digital Chamber of Commerce, a blockchain and digital assets lobby group.

Other former regulators who have entered the world of cryptocurrencies include

Arthur Levitt,

a former president of the Securities and Exchange Commission who is now an advisor to several blockchain and crypto startups.

Mark Wetjen,

a former Democratic commissioner at the CFTC, is part of the board of the parent company of LedgerX, a crypto derivatives trading platform.

In the interview, Mr. Giancarlo said that his participation in the Digital Dollar Foundation was not like other cases of the “revolving door” phenomenon, in which former regulators join the industry they used to supervise. He said his foundation was a non-profit organization intended solely to promote the national interests of the United States. UU.

Write to Alexander Osipovich at [email protected]

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