State of Crypto: What Regulators Said at Consensus 2021

CoinDesk’s Consensus 2021 ended today, but the conversations will continue (I hope, or else I’m going to need a new job). If you missed it, you can catch up on all of the coverage here, but I wanted to briefly dig into some of the regulation-related panels and sessions from this week. 

You’re reading a special Consensus 2021 edition of State of Crypto, a CoinDesk newsletter looking at the intersection of cryptocurrency and government. Click here to sign up for future editions.

CBDCs and innovation

CoinDesk’s annual conference usually features a host of policymakers and regulators explaining how they’re approaching crypto and how that approach has changed over the past few years. Here are some of this year’s highlights.

Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard: The U.S. central bank official opened Consensus with a breakdown of how exactly the Boston Fed is looking at a digital dollar from a policy perspective. 

Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon: The governor of Wyoming revealed he owns cryptocurrencies, and said he’s concerned about government-issued digital currencies.

International Monetary Fund Division Chief Tommaso Mancini-Griffoli: The IMF division chief said that, hypothetically, a world with multiple reserve currencies would be fairly stable. He was responding to a question about China’s digital yuan.

U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis: The crypto-friendly lawmaker’s Financial Innovation Caucus officially launched on Tuesday, with Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) spearheading the effort. 

SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce: The growth of digital assets might force the Securities and Exchange Commission to modernize its custody rules more quickly than it might otherwise, SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce said. 

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis: Jared Polis, previously a congressman who co-founded the Congressional Blockchain Caucus, said he wants to work with his state’s policymakers to help it accept crypto for taxes.

Christian Catalini: The diem co-creator and chief economist and MIT professor said the original Facebook-led vision for the libra stablecoin project was “naive.” C’est possible.

Bank of Mauritius Governor Harvesh Seegolam: Mauritius’ central bank plans to launch a central bank digital currency by the end of the year, Harvesh Seegolam said. He previously teased there’d be research into a CBDC at Consensus: Distributed last year. 

National Security Council Director of Cybersecurity Carole House: White House adviser Carole House said a lack of controls may require the U.S. government to create some regulations to limit fundraising by malicious actors. 

Acting FinCEN Director Michael Mosier: Michael Mosier, who took office earlier this year after former FinCEN Director Kenneth Blanco stepped down, said a controversial rule proposal that would require crypto exchanges to collect counterparty data for transactions to private wallets is still being evaluated. 


  • Ray Dalio: ‘I Have Some Bitcoin’: Ray Dalio, the billionaire investor and hedge fund manager who founded Bridgewater Associates, revealed Monday he owns bitcoin.
  • Binance Says ‘Rollback’ Not Possible After DeFi Exploits on Binance Smart Chain: Binance can’t help roll back decentralized finance exploits on projects built on the Binance Smart Chain, business and ecosystem development coordinator Samy Karim said. BSC uses a proof-of-staked-authority consensus mechanism, meaning BNB token holders can vote for the stakers. Binance is one major token holder.
  • NFL Legend Tom Brady Has ‘Definitely’ Invested in Crypto: Tampa Bay Bucs quarterback Tom Brady says he owns crypto but doesn’t say which crypto or how much. (Disclosure: I’m a longtime fan of the New England Patriots, his former football team.)

Outside CoinDesk:

  • (CNN) Former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers warned stimulus payments might lead to inflation.
  • (Reuters) PayPal plans to let its users withdraw their crypto holdings to third-party wallets.
  • (CBC News) Shilling myself for a moment: I make an appearance in this CBC News podcast series about QuadrigaCX.

If you have thoughts or questions on what I should discuss next week or any other feedback you’d like to share, feel free to email me at or find me on Twitter @nikhileshde. 

You can also join the group conversation on Telegram. 

See ya’ll next week!