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CFTC adds execs from Circle, Ava Labs and Fireblocks to tech advisory group

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has signaled receptiveness to the crypto and blockchain sector after including several executives from the space as part of its new Technology Advisory Committee (TAC).

CFTC commissioner and TAC sponsor Christy Goldsmith Romero announced the updated membership via a public statement on March 13, with the inaugural meeting of the new committee set to take place on March 22.

The TAC itself was formed in 1999 and aims to assist the CFTC in “identifying and understanding the impacts and implications of technological innovation in financial services and markets.”

“The TAC may inform the Commission’s consideration of technology-related issues in support of its mission to ensure the integrity of derivatives and commodities markets and the achievement of other public interest objectives,” the announcement reads.

The TAC also has the potential to provide advice on tech investments that “could support the Commission in meeting its surveillance and enforcement responsibilities.”

Former White House official Carole House will serve as the chair, with Ari Redboard, the head of legal and government affairs at blockchain intelligence firm TRM Labs serving as the vice chair.

Other crypto-related members include Ava Labs founder and CEO Emin Gün Sirer, Circle vice president of global policy Corey Then, digital asset platform FireBlocks co-founder and CEO, Michael Shaulov, digital asset analytics firm Inca Digital CEO Adam Zarazinski and blockchain auditor Trail of Bits co-founder Dan Guid.

Outside of crypto, executives from major companies such as IBM, Amazon, the CME Group and Cboe Global Markets have also been included in the TAC. While there is also a strong showing of professors from university law schools such as Cornell and the University of Michigan.

As part of the announcement, Goldsmith Romero emphasized the importance of working with members from private tech and other organizations to regulate and protect the commodities/futures market:

“To protect our markets from increasingly-sophisticated cyber attacks, to ensure responsible development of digital assets in a way that protects customers, and to ensure that the implications of emerging technologies like artificial intelligence are well understood, the Commission requires advice from technology experts.”

“These experts can provide us foundational knowledge about the technology, as well as the complex and nuanced impacts and implications of technology on financial markets,” she added.

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The collaborative approach from the CFTC appears to be in stark contrast to that of the other U.S. agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which has reportedly acted frostily towards crypto firms behind closed doors.

Executives such as Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong, Kraken co-founder Jesse Powell and Custodia Bank CEO Caitlin Long have all highlighted issues with trying to proactively work with the SEC and the government over the past couple of years.