Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Committee on Financial Services, joined Professor Chris Brummer, Professor at Georgetown University Law Center and founder of DC Fintech Week, at his annual DC Fintech Week to discuss financial technology and the future of finance.
Since assuming the Chair in 2019, Chairwoman Waters and the Committee have been leading the charge in Congress to conduct deep dives on digital assets products and services to learn more about how the space is changing, and to understand the impact on the broader payments system as well as the risks and opportunities for consumers.
During the conversation, Chairwoman Waters highlighted a number of key points:
- As a result of the Chairwoman’s leadership, the Financial Services Committee has already built consensus in at least three areas:
- The need for Congressional action to regulate the industry,
- The need for robust consumer and investor protection,
- The need to stay laser-focused on financial inclusion
- Through the work on stablecoins legislation, the digital wallets that hold them, and central bank digital currencies, it is important to consider, how these products will be used by everyday consumers and investors, especially those who are often excluded from the traditional financial system, including people of color.
- If the use of digital assets is going to grow, we must evaluate how to best protect ourselves with robust cybersecurity, strong privacy protections, and safeguards to catch bad actors who may use these products to evade sanctions, make illicit transactions, and harm consumers and investors.
- The Committee is deeply dedicated to ensuring our financial system facilitates responsible innovation that can also play a part in achieving financial equity, and ensuring the U.S. remains the global leader on finance, technology, and payments. All while protecting consumers and promoting financial inclusion.
Watch the full conversation HERE. (Start: 7:00:45)
On May 9, 2019, Chairwoman Waters announced the creation of the Committee’s Task Forces on Financial Technology and Artificial Intelligence.
On July 17, 2019, Chairwoman Waters held a hearing entitled, “Examining Facebook’s Proposed Cryptocurrency and Its Impact on Consumers, Investors, and the American Financial System,” which explored Facebook’s proposed cryptocurrency and its effects on consumers, investors and the United States.
On October 23, 2019, Chairwoman Waters held a hearing entitled, “An Examination of Facebook and Its Impact on the Financial Services and Housing Sectors,” where Committee members questioned CEO Mark Zuckerberg about Facebook’s proposed stablecoin product and digital wallet.
On April 21, 2021, the Committee reauthorized the Task Forces on Financial Technology and Artificial Intelligence for the 117th Congress.
On June 15, 2021, the Task Force on Financial Technology held a hearing entitled, “Digitizing the Dollar: Investigating the Technological Infrastructure, Privacy, and Financial Inclusion Implications of Central Bank Digital Currencies,” which discussed potential design trade-offs for a U.S. Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), and examined consumer privacy implications and the potential for increased financial inclusion.
On June 16, 2021, Chairwoman Waters announced the establishment of the Digital Assets Working Group (DAWG) of Democratic Members to examine digital assets-related policy and legal issues in a comprehensive manner.
On June 16, 2021, the Subcommittee on National Security, International Development and Monetary Policy, chaired by Representative Himes, held a hearing entitled, “Schemes and Subversion: How Bad Actors and Foreign Governments Undermine and Evade Sanctions Regimes,” which investigated how cryptocurrencies, CBDCs, and other digital assets may offer new avenues for sanctions evasion and other financial crimes.
On June 30, 2021, the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, chaired by Representative Green, held a hearing entitled, “America on ‘FIRE’: Will the Crypto Frenzy Lead to Financial Independence and Early Retirement or Financial Ruin?” which focused on investor protection concerns with cryptocurrency market exchange activities.
On July 21, 2021, the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions, chaired by Representative Perlmutter, held a hearing entitled, “Banking the Unbanked: Exploring Private and Public Efforts to Expand Access to the Financial System,” which explored proposals like FedAccounts, which could require the Fed to establish digital transaction accounts, based on a CBDC, that could be provided to consumers through depository institutions and the U.S. Postal Service, or directly to consumers.
On July 27, 2021, the Subcommittee on National Security, International Development and Monetary Policy held a hearing entitled, “The Promises and Perils of Central Bank Digital Currencies,” which explored the risks of CBDCs from a national security and monetary policy perspective.
On December 8, 2021, the full Committee held a hearing entitled, “Digital Assets and the Future of Finance: Understanding the Challenges and Benefits of Financial Innovation in the United States,” featuring testimony from CEOs of the largest digital assets companies, including Circle, FTX, Paxos, and Coinbase Inc.
On February 8, 2022, the full Committee held a hearing entitled, “Digital Assets and the Future of Finance: The President’s Working Group on Financial Markets’ Report on Stablecoins,” with Nellie Liang, Under Secretary of Domestic Finance at the U.S. Department of Treasury, who testified about the rapid growth of stablecoins and the findings from the “Report on Stablecoins” by the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets (PWG).
On April 28, 2022, the Task Force on Financial Technology held a hearing entitled, “What’s in Your Digital Wallet? A Review of Recent Trends in Mobile Banking and Payments,” which explored the legal and regulatory framework governing digital wallets holding various types of digital assets in custody and on behalf of consumers, as well as relevant consumer protections implications.
On May 26, 2022, the full Committee held a hearing entitled, “Digital Assets and the Future of Finance: Examining the Benefits and Risks of a U.S. Central Bank Digital Currency,” with Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve, Governor Lael Brainard, testifying on the Federal Reserve’s recent research and development efforts on a U.S. CBDC.