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Highlights from DACOM 2021

Solidus Labs
December 14, 2021

DACOM Summit 2021 - The Digital Asset Compliance and Market Integrity Summit - on December 1st 2021, attracted a 200-strong crowd of digital asset legal, risk, regulation and business leaders, as well as regulators and the financial media, for a series of expert panels and discussions on the state of crypto market integrity, compliance and consumer protection. 

This 2nd in-person DACOM event, following the inaugural summit in 2019, was hosted by Solidus Labs and CryptoCompare. It featured the first joint appearance of U.S. SEC Chair Gary Gensler and former Chair Jay Clayton, speaking in a fireside chat. The summit also included former CFTC Chairman Christopher Giancarlo, Solidus’ VP of Regulatory Affairs and former CFPB Director Kathy Kraninger, former Acting Comptroller of Currency Brian Brooks, Coinbase’ CLO Paul Grewal and Uniswap Labs’ CLO Marvin Ammori among other speakers. The program covered a variety of hot-button topics surrounding crypto risk management, regulation, compliance, and their role in the safe growth and further adoption of digital assets by the public and institutional investors.

Opening the event and welcoming the 200 in-person attendees and 15,000+ virtual attendees, Solidus Labs CEO Asaf Meir emphasized how critical the work of digital asset compliance and risk professionals is to enabling crypto’s potential. “Crypto and DeFi's promise of better financial opportunities depends on us - those working day and night in this 24/7 ever-dynamic industry - to address market integrity, consumer protection, and regulatory concerns,” Meir said, before he welcomed the two SEC Chairs to the stage.

Solidus Labs CEO Asaf Meir at DACOM 2021

As the New York Times later pointed out, Gensler and Clayton found much they can agree on despite serving under two different administrations, one Democratic and one Republican respectively. With respect to the opportunity and risk presented by digital asset markets, both cautioned the crypto and DeFi community that current regulations apply and market integrity is needed if the industry is going to be successful. 

“Part of this conference here today is about market surveillance, about bringing market integrity with the concept that without those things you’re not going to have a market that holds up and flourishes,” Clayton said. “It won’t,” Gensler replied, emphasizing that “trust will be undermined without investor protections...if you are a proponent of this asset class, without trust the public is not going to stay with this asset class long-term.” Regarding a spot Bitcoin ETF specifically, the former and current SEC chairs agreed on the need for market surveillance infrastructure to be in place. “These platforms need to come in, get registered, come within the investor protection remit, ensure for the appropriate anti-manipulation, ensure for the appropriate transparencies, deal with the custody issues and the like,” Gensler said. Additionally, Gensler asked digital asset exchanges and firms to work with the SEC on “anti-manipulation and how we guard against manipulation in these markets,” and if they don’t, he warned, “where appropriate we're going to use the enforcement tool".

In a subsequent fireside chat, Chris Giancarlo and Brian Brooks chided U.S. regulators for being too parochial and short-sighted in their approach to digital asset regulation. Specifically, Giancarlo noted, “Our financial system was state of the art in the 20th century, but its shortcomings are rapidly becoming apparent. And so outside the beltway the question being asked is how do we use this technology to bring more people in, how do we lower costs? Yet inside the beltway the question is all about is it your jurisdiction or is it my jurisdiction, is it a security or is it a commodity? It’s almost as if the beltway is still in the 20th century and the rest of the world is moving to the 21st century.” If regulation in the space is going to work, Giancarlo continued, “it’s not just regulated or unregulated as if regulation itself is the answer to every question. It’s what kind of regulation. Is the regulation fit to purpose?”. Kathy Kraninger noted the value of DACOM “as a forum to talk about compliance and regulation and what it means in this new industry.” Further, it supports “industry coming forward [to regulators] saying we are concerned about fraud and manipulation, and this is what we’re doing about it and this is the structure you should put in place.”

Other notable speakers included Bitstamp USA CEO, Robert Zagotta, Uniswap Labs’ Chief Legal Officer Marvin Ammori, BCB Group CEO Oliver von Landsberg-Sadie, Coinbase’s Chief Legal Officer Paul Grewal, Cross River’s Head of Digital Assets Ram Ahluwalia, Alkemi Networks’s Engin Erdogan and others. “Today left me simultaneously overwhelmed, but also very excited about the future,” James Harris, CryptoCompare’s Commercial Director, summarized in DACOM’s closing remarks. “There are so many fantastic people here rallying behind the brilliant technologists who are leading the transformation of financial markets 2.0. It's really breathtaking to see.”

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