(Bloomberg) -- In order to protect investors from the kind of flash crashes that plagued Binance’s U.S. platform on Thursday, cryptocurrency exchanges need to take a page from the equity market.
That’s the view of crypto exchange FTX.US President Brett Harrison. While FTX.US has put in place circuit breakers and other trading limits, those restrictions aren’t required by federal regulators, Harrison said.
The lack of regulator-imposed guardrails -- while attractive to many crypto advocates -- also comes with drawbacks, which were on display Thursday when the price of Bitcoin briefly plunged to $8,200 within a single minute from around $65,000 on Binance’s U.S. exchange.
Read More: How Crypto Exchanges Could Stop Flash Crashes, If They Want
“Those are all self-imposed based on the lack of an existing regulatory regime for spot crypto,” Harrison said on Bloomberg’s “QuickTake Stock” streaming program. “We need to establish good rules for crypto exchanges to exist in this industry and be able to provide similar kinds of safeguards that the existing equity exchanges and futures exchanges provide.”
Under the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s oversight, equity exchanges have circuit breakers in place, which briefly halt trading when prices fall to quickly. No such processes are required for digital-asset platforms. Instead, any trading rules and limits are implemented on an exchange-by-exchange basis, given that the crypto industry has no central governing body.
The lack of such oversight may explain why the SEC was comfortable allowing the first futures-backed Bitcoin exchange-traded funds to launch this week -- given that futures trade on regulated exchanges -- but has yet to approve physically backed funds, Harrison said.
“When regulators are looking at the crypto markets now compared to, for example, the equity markets, they’re asking the questions, are these markets mature and do they have all the safeguards in place that allow for orderly execution?” Harrison said. “It’s, for example, the reason why the SEC has been comfortable with a futures backed ETF, but not yet a spot backed ETF.”
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