M-RCBG Senior Fellow-Led Study Group: Tim Massad

The Regulation of Bitcoin and Other Cryptoassets: What Should We Do?
October 11, 4:00-5:30  WEX-G02 Seminar Room

We will first discuss some basics about cryptoassets and the underlying blockchain technology (in layman’s terms).   We will examine why many people think the technology will revolutionize the financial sector and other industries, and why others are skeptical.  We will then look at the current state of the market, and in particular the growth of new institutions such as trading platforms and wallets, as well as initial coin offerings.  
We will then examine the current regulatory framework, particularly with respect to these new institutional intermediaries and initial coin offerings:  What authority do existing regulators have?  How have they used that authority?  What are the key public policy issues with respect to the current regulatory framework?

We will also discuss whether changes to the regulatory framework are needed.   Should the innovative potential of the underlying technology affect our thinking about regulation, and if so how?  What about the many allegations of fraud and manipulation in the trading of these instruments?  What is the proper balance between federal and state regulation?    What if any action should we expect from the Trump Administration and Congress on these issues?  
While the focus will be on the United States, we will briefly discuss what is going on in other countries. 

Timothy Massad.jpgTimothy Massad was at the Treasury Department from 2009 to 2014.  As the Assistant Secretary for Financial Stability, he oversaw the Troubled Asset Relief Program, and during his tenure Treasury recovered more on the TARP investments than was disbursed.  From 2014-2017, he served as Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, where he was responsible for implementing post-crisis reforms of derivatives regulation.    
Prior to joining Treasury, he was a corporate lawyer for 25 years, specializing in financial transactions and financial markets.  He worked in New York, London and Hong Kong. Email: timothy_massad@hks.harvard.edu