Crypto in the Americas: Policy Considerations

“Innovators and regulators are running different races" when it comes to crypto, but panelists agreed that synergy between the two groups can help ensure growth, safety, and inclusion.


  • Jaclyn Cahan, Chief of Cyber and Emergent Issues, FINCEN, U.S. Treasury Department 
  • Patrick Campos, Chief Strategy Officer, Securrency
  • Alex Gladstein, Chief Strategy Officer, Human Rights Foundation
  • Eric Parrado, Chief Economist and General Manager, Research Department, Inter-American Development Bank
  • Driss Temsamani, Managing Director and Head of Digital, Citi Latin America
  • Shery Ahn, Anchor, Bloomberg TV (moderator)
  • Eric Farnsworth, Vice President, Americas Society/Council of the Americas (welcome and introduction)

“Innovators and regulators are running different races” when it comes to crypto, said the IDB's Eric Parrado, though he expressed that there is middle ground for the two groups that balances financial stability and liquidity with innovation on an AS/COA panel on Crypto in the Americas. Parrado was joined by private- and public-sector experts to discuss the burgeoning crypto space and innovations like blockchain, central bank digital currencies, tokenization, and e-wallets.

“Crypto does create unique challenges, particularly given the speed it can move and the ability to move across jurisdictions,” said Jaclyn Cahan of the U.S. Treasury Department, one of the regulators present. She highlighted the steps the U.S. government is taking alongside governments around the world to protect consumers and stop bad actors from taking advantage of the new technology.

But panelists expressed that crypto can be a tool for the good guys, too. Securrency's Patrick Campos noted that traceable loans enabled by blockchain technology can help track down corruption. Human Rights Foundation's Alex Gladstein explained how crypto technologies like Bitcoin and Tether provide critical financial services to those without access to dollar bank accounts, including citizens in Cuba and Venezuela.

But crypto is no panacea. Parrado mentioned the danger of its volatility and Citi Latin America's Driss Temsamani encouraged a synchronized effort between the private sector and the public sector to avoid a horse race between various currencies. Still, moderator Shery Ahn of Bloomberg noted crypto retains huge potential “at a time when people in LatAm have been calling for capitalism to be reimagined.”