Blockworks: Don’t Drive Crypto Into the EU’s Open Arms
Authored by Miller Whitehouse-Levine; May 2023
The American Conservative: The Wrong Lesson from the Fall of FTX
Authored by Lizandro Pieper; April 2023
CoinTelegraph: CBDCs will lead to absolute government control
Authored by Miller Whitehouse-Levine; April 2023
CoinDesk: Why Ex-SEC Official John Reed Stark Is Wrong About Crypto
Authored by Miller Whitehouse-Levine; February 2023
Fortune: A ‘kitchen sink’ approach won’t work if the 118th Congress wants to fix its DeFi problem
Authored by Miller Whitehouse-Levine; December 2022
The Well News: DeFi Doesn’t Pose a Significant Risk for Illicit Finance. It’s Time More People Knew That
Authored by Miller Whitehouse-Levine; August 2022
Fortune: What the media gets wrong in its persistent crypto criticism
Authored by Miller Whitehouse-Levine; July 2022
The Well News: DeFi Needs Flexible and Fair Regulation, Not Just Enforcement
Authored by Miller Whitehouse-Levine; June 2022
CoinDesk: The Scarcity Mindset Driving Crypto's Energy Critics
Authored by Miller Whitehouse-Levine; May 2022
Decrypt: Cryptocurrencies Won’t Help Russia Evade Sanctions
Authored by Miller Whitehouse-Levine; March 2022
The Block: Crypto policy groups call Tornado Cash sanctions ‘unprecedented and unlawful’ in new legal brief
The Blockchain Association called the U.S. Treasury Department’s decision to sanction Tornado Cash “unprecedented and unlawful” in a new amicus brief it filed with DeFi Education Fund.
“The SEC's response is just the latest instance of them punting rather than engaging,” Amanda Tuminelli, Chief Legal Officer at advocacy group DeFi Education Fund, told The Defiant. “Their position essentially boils down to ‘we don't want to engage in clear rulemaking, and we think regulation by enforcement is working just fine in the meantime, thank you.’”
This week’s soundbite honour goes to Miller Whitehouse-Levine, chief executive at the DeFi Education Fund, an organisation whose mission it is to “educate policymakers about the benefits of decentralised finance”. On an FT panel discussing the possibility of regulating crypto on a global scale, the DeFi chief was candid about one of the crypto industry’s central tenets, namely that the rules of the crypto game are set by the blockchain and not regulators or the government. “The idea of ‘code is law’ has run into the problem of reality . . . at the end of the day we all exist in the real world and we adjudicate disagreements through a judicial system in the United States that has developed over centuries.”
MarketWatch: ‘Crypto is dead in America.’ How FTX’s collapse instigated a Biden crackdown on the digital-asset sector.
Miller Whitehouse-Levine, chief executive officer at the DeFi Education Fund, a DeFi advocacy organization, sees that Gensler’s attitude toward the sector shifted markedly early last year, when he stopped advocating for Congress to pass legislation “to prevent transactions, products and platforms from falling between the regulatory cracks,” as he did in an August 2021 speech. To be sure, Gensler’s speech that day was consistent with more recent pronouncements that the law is clear when it comes to which digital assets are securities and which are not, though the regulator has grown more strident in his criticism of the crypto industry. ““I’ve been around finance for 40 years, in one way or the other,” Gensler said in a hearing last week. “I’ve never seen a field that is so noncompliant with laws written by Congress and confirmed over and over again by the courts.” Whitehouse-Levine believes that Gensler has been emboldened by the failure of FTX and its effect on Democratic lawmakers and administration officials, in light of FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried’s high profile donations to Democratic lawmakers. (Bankman-Fried said in an interview following his downfall that he gave to both parties, but was not public in his donations to Republicans). “I don’t think Gensler has become more motivated by the collapse of FTX,” he said. “I think he no longer faces any opposition of his agenda to ban crypto in this country at a level that he did before the collapse of FTX.”
Top line: F- [grade]. Chair Gensler has morphed the SEC from being the gold standard of financial regulators – an agency that protects American investors and the primacy of its capital markets by adapting its statutorily-authorized regulations to innovative technologies – to being an agency that actively engages in merit-based policymaking. That approach is undermining the SEC’s pursuit of its mission and its credibility already. And in turn, it risks doing lasting damage to the agency and the markets it oversees. Watching: The SEC’s ATS/exchange proposal is emblematic of the SEC’s new-found policymaking powers and its disingenuous approach to crypto more broadly. The SEC claims that it is crystal clear everything is within its jurisdiction – and then the agency subsequently makes clear that there is no path to compliance available for anyone or anything that touches a blockchain-based asset. Indeed, this rulemaking proposes that `communication protocol systems’ (a novel and intentionally ambiguous term the proposal does not define) could be national securities exchanges and does not consider whether so-called communication protocol systems could comply with a regulatory regime designed for businesses like the NYSE. Simply put, if you have to exempt cellphones from the definition of a national securities exchange, something has gone very wrong. Future: It’s too soon to tell, but Chair Gensler’s greatest legacy may be reshaping administrative law in fundamental ways.
Miller Whitehouse-Levine, who heads the DeFi Education Fund crypto advocacy group, said Gensler’s appearance “underscores the thesis that [he] has made the policy choice to try and ban crypto in this country.”
The Defiant: “Everybody” Should be Concerned About the SEC’s Proposed Rule Change for DeFi
“Everybody,” from decentralized exchanges to open source developers should be worried about a proposed rule change from the SEC, said Miller Whitehouse-Levine, CEO of the DeFi Education Fund. “Everybody and their mother,” should be concerned, Whitehouse-Levine said in an interview. Validators of blockchain transactions, members of DAOs, and open source developers, are potentially liable, he said. The DeFi Education Fund is a research firm which advocates for DeFi with policy-makers.
The advocacy group was joined by the DeFi Education Fund in arguing that the crypto mixer has important social functions and that the sanctions from the Office of Foreign Assets Control could set a dangerous precedent.
Blockworks Treasury Review Acknowledges Traditional Finance, Not DeFi, Preferred by Criminals
“While the assessment does, at times, demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of the DeFi landscape, it evidences a tension between the idea that decentralization is irrelevant in determining compliance obligations under existing AML/CFT controls and the idea that decentralized protocols are a novel tool unanticipated by existing frameworks,” Miller Whitehouse-Levine, CEO of the DeFi Education Fund, said in an email. “Those frameworks were developed based on how the global economy worked in the 1970s and are predicated on the assumption that transactions must occur through custodial financial intermediaries, an assumption that is no longer valid.”
Axios: U.S. Treasury looks at DeFi and crime
"Those frameworks were developed based on how the global economy worked in the 1970s, and are predicated on the assumption that transactions must occur through custodial financial intermediaries," DeFi Education Fund CEO Miller Whitehouse-Levine said in a statement.
POLITICO: DeFi’s turn in the barrel
“DeFi protocols function in a different way than traditional finance, and trying to apply existing AML/CFT rules, isn’t going to accomplish AML/CFT objectives,” DeFi Education Fund policy director Miller Whitehouse-Levine told MM.
Capitol Account: ABA's Nichols Talks SVB Turmoil, Pot Banking and the CFPB War on 'Junk' Fees
Not surprisingly, the study isn’t going over well with DeFi advocates, who have long bristled about the U.S.’s approach to regulating the technology. DeFi, they argue, can’t be overseen like a traditional financial services firm because it doesn’t fit into the system – it’s just two parties using smart contracts on a blockchain. Here’s a comment from Miller Whitehouse-Levine, the chief executive officer of the DeFi Education Fund: “While the assessment does, at times, demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of the DeFi landscape, it evidences a tension between the idea that decentralization is irrelevant in determining compliance obligations under existing [anti-money laundering] controls and the idea that decentralized protocols are a novel tool unanticipated by existing frameworks. Those frameworks were developed based on how the global economy worked in the 1970s and are predicated on the assumption that transactions must occur through custodial financial intermediaries, an assumption that is no longer valid.”
"No company has tried harder to productively engage with the agency. The SEC's crusade will only continue to encourage Americans to transition to businesses in off-shore jurisdictions, and the consequences of that should be predictable given the multiple collapses of 2022." - Miller Whitehouse-Levine, CEO, DeFi Education Fund
Capitol Account: Coinbase Enforcement Warning Shows Gensler is Nearing His Crypto Endgame
"Sending a bunch of Wells notices – my understanding is that it’s been dozens this year alone – moves the needle. It sends a message and can change behavior. So it’s a relatively low-cost regulatory tool…The general strategy here is that I think Gensler has decided that crypto and crypto businesses in the United States are a net negative for the United States, and he is going to act on that."
Amanda Tuminelli has joined DeFi Education Fund as chief legal officer. She was previously a principal at Kobre & Kim.
New Role: Michael Mosier, general counsel of Espresso Systems and a former top official at FinCEN, has joined the steering committee of the DeFi Education Fund. Mosier is also a co-founder of Arktouros, which describes itself as a “law and advisory boutique dedicated to civil society and emergent technology.” He’s been active in the crypto policy space, and has questioned the government’s effort to sanction the digital token platform Tornado Cash – a big issue in decentralized finance. “Opportunity for self-determination is foundational to democracy, and that principle is core to both public service and web3,” Mosier said in a statement. “I am honored to contribute to DeFi Education Fund’s mission of advancing informed appreciation for democratization, resilience, and accessibility of the financial system.”
Espresso Systems’ Michael Mosier has joined the steering committee at the DeFi Education Fund.
Politico: Crypto isn’t getting a new U.S. rulebook
It’s also unclear how lawmakers like Brown and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) — who also sees little use for digital currency — would ever align with innovation-loving Republicans like House Financial Services Chair Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) and Majority Whip Tom Emmer. “I don’t know if the Overton window of those individuals overlap at all on crypto,” DeFi Education Fund policy director Miller Whitehouse-Levine told MM.
Captiol Account: A Crypto Moratorium? Firms Worry SEC Plan Could Close Market Off to Big Investors
However, Miller Whitehouse-Levine, policy director of the DeFi Education Fund, had a very different take that focused on Gensler’s oft-repeated request that digital asset firms register with the agency and follow its rules: “This should end any doubt that ‘come in and register’ is a fig leaf for the SEC usurping Congress to block crypto in the U.S. [The agency’s proposal] requires investment advisers to custody all assets with qualified custodians, while saying it’s unlikely that crypto can be custodied in compliance with the rule.”
Reuters: Wall St watchdog shortens time-frame for stock trades, proposes new investment adviser rules
However Miller Whitehouse-Levine, policy director at DeFi Education Fund, described Gensler's position as an attempt to cut off digital assets from the traditional financial system. "This should end any doubt that 'come in and register' is a fig leaf for the SEC usurping Congress to block crypto in the U.S.," he said.
The left-right divisions run deep. Despite a shared sense of urgency, the gulf between party leaders on the details of any approach to crypto regulation is wide, said Miller Whitehouse-Levine, policy director of the DeFi Education Fund, a crypto lobbying group. “It’ll be a lot of work to get consensus,” he said, and he doesn’t foresee legislation passing any time soon.
Capitol Account: Calling SEC Investor Rule Discriminatory, House Republicans Plot Fresh Push to Open Up PE and Hedge Funds to the Masses
Here’s a response from Miller Whitehouse-Levine, the DeFi Education Fund’s policy director: “The blog post is mistitled. The potential (further) broad decline in digital asset prices, the potential composition of custodial stablecoin reserves, and the potential mass use of a digital asset for payments are not DeFi issues.”
When asked about the FTX collapse affecting how Congress viewed crypto legislations, Whitehouse-Levine says, “Everybody felt burnt. No matter whether an average crypto user or a member of congress, everyone got burnt, because it was fraudulent.” However, he does not believe in the conspiracy theories revolving Bankman-Fried’s hold on the government.
Capitol Account: Crypto Turf Fight: a Progressive Attack on CFTC’s Behnam Gets Personal – and Ugly
A DeFi Welcome to Washington: As the head of the DeFi Education Fund, Miller Whitehouse-Levine often notes that he spends much of his time explaining to confused lawmakers what his industry does. Toward that end, the group isn’t wasting any time getting its education efforts going with the new Congress. Today, it sent a letter to every senator and House member that included a “DeFi FAQ,” and encourages them to pass legislation that recognizes the benefits of decentralized finance. You can read the note here.
Cointelegraph: Blockchain privacy groups urge new US Congress to protect privacy rights
At the time of writing, the letter had 36 signatories, including industry players such as the Blockchain Association, DeFi Education Fund, Ledger, Nillion Network, Protocol Labs and Proton.
Bankless Podcast: Will the SEC Kill Crypto?! with Jake Chervinsky & Amanda Tuminelli
Joining us today are the best in the biz Chervinsky & Amanda Tuminelli who are here to answer all our questions about the SEC and it's assault on the crypto industry as a whole.
The PGP for Crypto Podcast: Miller Whitehouse-Levine, CEO of DeFi Education Fund
Miller Whitehouse-Levine, is the CEO of the DeFi Education Fund. With an extensive background in public policy, Miller has dedicated his career to driving innovation and fostering a regulatory environment that supports the growth of the blockchain and DeFi industries. Before joining the DeFi Education Fund, Miller led the Blockchain Association's policy operation, shaping key policy initiatives in the blockchain space. Prior to that, he worked at Goldstein Policy Solutions, where he contributed to the development of a boutique lobbying firm specializing in financial services, telecommunications, and cybersecurity. Miller holds a B.S. in International Politics and a minor in Mandarin Chinese from Georgetown's School of Foreign Service. His unique blend of policy expertise and passion for decentralized finance make him a key figure in the ongoing conversation around DeFi's potential and its regulatory landscape.
The Delphi Podcast: The Definitive Conversation on The Government's Regulatory Assault on Crypto
Miller Whitenhouse-Levine the CEO of DeFi Education Fund, Marisa T Coppel Policy Counsel at Blockchain Association and Sarah Brennan GC of Delphi Ventures join host Tommy for the definitive episode on crypto regulations.
Unchained Podcast: Did FTX Ruin Crypto’s Image on Capitol Hill? Two DC Insiders Discuss
Sheila Warren, CEO of the Crypto Council for Innovation, and Miller Whitehouse-Levine, Policy Director of the DeFi Education Fund, offer insider takes on how lawmakers and regulators are viewing crypto after FTX’s catastrophic failure. Both expect heightened activity in the U.S. from what they’re calling the “Crypto Congress.” Will this be the year for stablecoin regulation? Is DeFi still in the crosshairs? What about Ripple’s fight with the SEC? The two crypto policy experts look to the U.S. and beyond for what regulatory battles lie ahead in 2023.
Token Terminal: DeFi Education Fund – Policy education and advocacy to help DeFi
Miller Whitehouse-Levine, Policy Director at DeFi Education Fund (DEF) – a non-profit organisation that explains decentralized finance to policymakers around the world and advocates for policies welcoming of decentralized financial infrastructure – joined us for an interview to walk through the basics of DEF and the important role that Policy work plays within crypto.
The Breakdown: The Fight for DeFi in Washington, D.C., With Miller Whitehouse-Levine
On today’s “Breakdown” interview, NLW is joined by Miller Whitehouse-Levine, policy director at the DeFi Education Fund. They discuss the state of regulatory discourse in Washington, D.C., along with key recent events including Treasury Department sanctions.
The Lexcon Crypto Show: Was the CFTC right to sue Ooki Dao? Hear from Miller Whitehouse-Levine of DEF
Miller Whitehouse-Levine of the Defi Education Fund joins Andrew in the studio today to discuss the latest news and activity of the DEF.
ReFi DeFi: DeFi Education Fund
It's clear that US regulators are shining a spotlight on DeFi. It's essential that we have a group that is dedicated to educating policymakers and shaping the future of DeFi. In this episode, we had the honour to speak to Miller Whitehouse-Levine, Policy Director at the DEF.
Law of Code: Tornado Cash Sanctions w/ DeFi Education Fund Director Miller Whitehouse-Levine
Miller Whitehouse-Levine (@millercwl) is the Policy Director at the DeFi Education Fund (@fund_defi). With oversight from the DeFi Education Fund’s grants committee, Miller has overall strategic and operational responsibility for the execution of the Education Fund’s mission and goals. Prior to joining the fund, Miller led the Blockchain Association’s policy operation and worked at Goldstein Policy Solutions on a range of public policy issues, including crypto. In this conversation, we cover all aspects of the Tornado Cash saga, how the DeFi Education Fund works, and outline the interplay between the various government and international agencies governing crypto.
BBC: Business Daily
Regulators are taking a close look at new crypto-trading environments, known collectively as Decentralised Finance, or DeFi. advocates say the technologies underlying DeFi offer an inclusive and democratic approach to finance, while critics say it is a potential hotbed for money laundering, terrorist financing and other criminal activity. The BBC's Ed Butler dives into the world of DeFi, speaking with Laura Shin, crypto journalist and host of the Unchained podcast, to hear about DeFi, and the kinds of entrepreneurs attracted to it. We also hear from Miller Whitehouse-Levine from the DeFi Education Fund, who argues the potential benefits of DeFi, and digital forensics expert Paul Sibenik of CipherBlade explains what tools are out there for tracking criminal activity across dentralised finance platforms. And veteran crypto investor Jamie Burke of Outlier Ventures explains why he has got so much of his own portfolio in DeFi.