‘We don’t want to be asking in 30 years, ‘Who lost crypto?”: Coinbase chief legal officer
Paul Grewal believes that if the U.S. keeps dithering on crypto regulation, the industry will meet the same fate as semiconductors.
The U.S. is falling behind in adopting crypto regulations, which could lead to 1 million developer jobs and 3 million other high-paying crypto jobs fleeing overseas, according to Paul Grewal, chief legal officer at Coinbase.
In an interview with Kitco News, Grewal said that these jobs are “not rhetorical,” adding:
“If these jobs are coming and we know they are, wouldn’t we want to have at least a fair share of those here in the United States? I think the answer to that is an obvious one — it’s yes.”
Grewal believes that if the U.S. does not adopt crypto regulations soon, the same fate will befall the industry as the U.S. semiconductor industry. He said that over the past 30 years, the semiconductor industry, which was largely developed and grown in the U.S., “has somehow found its way to countries far from the United States and countries that may not always have the United States interest.”
Grewal emphasized the importance of the industry citing that the number of crypto owners in the U.S. — 52 million — far exceeds the number of people who have driven electric cars or used ride-sharing services. Therefore, he added, Coinbase does not want the U.S. to repeat the same mistake it made with semiconductors, with crypto. He said:
We don’t want to be asking in 30 years, ‘Who lost crypto?'”
Not all bad news
Noting that 83% of G20 countries have already adopted or are in the process of adopting crypto regulatory frameworks, Grewal said that there is no denying that the U.S. is losing the race. However, while the future of crypto is grim if the country does not adopt legislation, it is not too late, according to Grewal.
“The United States is falling behind — that’s the bad news. The good news is there’s still plenty of time to catch up… The U.S. can still get this right but it’s time for us to act.”
Grewal said that there are positive crypto regulations pending in the House of Representatives, which, if passed, could correct the country’s trajectory. However, the passing of the legislation hinges on the U.S. crypto owners expressing their views and making it clear that “they want to see sensible, fair, balanced regulation applied to digital assets.”
Without such action by crypto owners and businesses, the U.S. is “going to lose this opportunity. We’re going to lose this moment,” Grewal said.
No need to throw out the baby with the bathwater
Grewal assented that the crypto industry is often the target of scams, frauds, and hacks. He believes it is appropriate that the Department of Justice (DOJ) has pursued legal and enforcement actions against such malicious actors. However, “that’s no reason to throw out the entire baby with the bathwater,” he said.
According to Grewal, the exodus of the crypto industry is not going to be a loss because it will affect the speculators and traders, but because it will close the doors to future innovation. Crypto and blockchain will have far-reaching use cases like decentralized identities, decentralized health records, and others. However, these use cases “need to be given time and space to take root and to grow, and that’s why we think sensible regulation can play an important part.