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Ranking Member Boozman’s Opening Statement at “Examining Digital Assets: Risks, Regulation, and Innovation” Hearing

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, released the following opening remarks, as prepared, from the hearing titled “Examining Digital Assets: Risks, Regulation, and Innovation.”

Good morning. I am pleased to join Chairwoman Stabenow today as we examine the ways in which digital assets and blockchain technology are impacting financial markets.

As this industry continues to grow, questions remain as to the proper role federal regulators should play in encouraging further innovation in this space, while ensuring market integrity and customer protection.

Digital assets and blockchain technology have already and will continue to change the way global market's function.

Currently, digital asset spot or cash markets are subject to a patchwork of regulations at the state and federal level. It is therefore critically important we think carefully about how to move forward in this area.

Last month, I was pleased to join Chairwoman Stabenow, along with both the chairman and ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee in sending a letter to Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Chairman Rostin Behnam.

That letter inquired about the scope and size of digital asset markets and whether the CFTC is currently working with other federal financial regulators to both support and police this growing financial ecosystem. Yes, it's true - bicameral, bipartisan collaboration can still exist, and we are demonstrating that at the agriculture committees, despite what else may be going on in Washington. And this must be the way we address issues relating to these markets going forward, because they are complicated and they touch so many of us, whether we appreciate it or not.

I hope today’s hearing provides an opportunity for both Chairman Behnam and our esteemed industry stakeholders to weigh in on the questions we posed in our letter.

I also believe today’s hearing is important because it begins addressing the growing calls for Congress and regulators to work together to provide market participants certainty over which digital assets are securities versus commodities. Further, we need to assess whether expanding the CFTC’s regulatory footprint to overseeing digital asset commodity spot markets is possible or prudent.

I am confident the CFTC can rise to the challenge to be the right fit for an expanded role in digital asset spot markets. However, it is imperative that as Congress weighs legislative options and make certain to include exchanges, consumer protection advocates and other market participants in the discussion to ensure that rules and regulations work for all stakeholders.

The digital asset market has grown to a nearly $2 trillion global market – that is a staggering number, and one which demands our careful consideration. It is unquestionable that digital assets will continue to play an important role in the global economy for years and decades to come.

In closing, I believe it is imperative that both Congress and regulators alike, work with industry and academia to further educate ourselves about these markets. And, as we develop laws and regulations establishing guardrails and rules of the road for market participants, we do so in a transparent and clear manner, so everyone knows what those rules are.

Thank you, Chairwoman Stabenow. I look forward to today’s discussion, and with that, I yield back.