Starting today, at the end of each month, we will provide a succinct recap of what we at the DeFi Education Fund have been up to over the last 30-ish days. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about a specific activity, please do not hesitate to reach out.
During September we have been quite busy both proactively driving and informing the legislative process as well as reacting to overreach by executive agencies. Below, please find a high-level overview of the key issues that kept us busy:
The Digital Commodity Consumer Protection Act
Arguably the biggest item of the month was responding to the Senate Agriculture Committee’s Digital Commodity Consumer Protection Act (DCCPA).
Working behind the scenes with our partners both in industry and on Capital Hill, we made sure that the Committee was aware of the implications that the legislation, as written, would have on DeFi.
Generally, the bill focuses on regulating centralized players in the crypto spot markets, like exchanges, but as we soon came to realize, how the bill affects DeFi was unclear and needed to be addressed.
While the legislation is still being worked on, we know that DeFi MUST be considered separately from centralized businesses like exchanges, given their fundamental functional differences.
CFTC Enforcement Action
On September 22, the CFTC took unprecedented action against a DAO for violating the Commodity Exchange Act.
We made it crystal clear that this type of “lawmaking via enforcement” not only will stifle innovation in the United States, but also discourage any U.S. persons from participating in DAOs.
While this action is still fresh, we will continue to make our voices heard, meet and discuss the matter with relevant parties and not hesitate to support and assist any person willing to fight on the issue.
Responding to Reports from the EO on Digital Assets
On September 16th, the White House released several, anticipated reports as a result of the President’s Executive Order on Digital Assets.
While the EO reports demonstrated a healthy dose of skepticism in the Administration, we were encouraged to see that the federal government has begun to comprehensively consider DeFi, its risks and its potential. We even scrolled through all the reports and pulled out each mention of DeFi.
We look forward to continuing to work with the executive agencies as they develop a workable and effective crypto policy framework that ensures DeFi development and use will continue to flourish in this country.
Promoting our Grantmaking Work
To best support our mission of shaping global regulatory policy and ensuring that the transformative potential of DeFi is open to all, we actively award policy-focused grants to individuals, nonprofits and academic institutions to fund projects that help explain, expand, and sustain the future of DeFi.
This month, we published an open letter to the DeFi community, calling on them to help us spread the word and help us find, and fund, the projects that will shape the future of DeFi.
Twitter Space Conversations
To best keep the community informed on the happenings in D.C., we convened a Twitter Space conversation on September 8th to recap various Congressional Hearings that touched on Crypto.
As legislative momentum continues to build, we will continue to host Spaces conversations featuring some of the most notable thought leaders in crypto policy.
Stay tuned for our next Spaces, which will focus on the House Financial Services Stablecoin legislation.
The New York Times’ Dealbook: Warning Signs Multiply Ahead of Pivotal Fed Interest Rates Meeting
The issue has sparked a feud among crypto insiders. “Decentralization is a spectrum, and where the line is drawn between centralized and decentralized is a policy choice that Congress will eventually have to make,” said Miller Whitehouse-Levine of the DeFi Education Fund lobbying association.
Miller Whitehouse-Levine, policy director at the DeFi Education Fund, called the White House’s announcement a “let down given the hope that I shared with many others that the administration was ready to create a healthy environment for US [crypto] industry and users.”
The Capitol Account: DeFi Advocate Talks Hacks, Fraud and How His Industry Can Revolutionize Finance
This week we chatted with Miller Whitehouse-Levine, the policy director of the DeFi Education Fund. An early crypto enthusiast, he may have one of the hardest jobs in Washington: explaining to confused lawmakers and regulators what decentralized finance is – and why they shouldn’t be afraid of it.
In an emailed statement to Decrypt, the DeFi Education Fund called the lawsuit against Ooki DAO an “unprecedented action [that] seeks to create novel policy in response to novel issues, all via an enforcement action.”
DeFi Education Fund policy director Miller Whitehouse-Levine tells Decrypt's Dan Roberts and Stacy Elliott in our Decrypting Mainnet series at Mainnet 2022 about how DeFi in some ways "came too early for the crypto ecosystem" and that some lawmakers see it as "hocus pocus, but there's still reason for optimism. He also sees Bitcoin as "a DeFi protocol for payments."