The US ought to do “precisely the other” of China on the subject of crypto, says Katie Haun


Katie Haun, Andreessen Horowitz general partner.

Source: Andreessen Horowitz

In considering how to regulate the crypto industry, the US should look to China to find out what not to do, said Katie Haun, partner at Andreessen Horowitz.

“This is an opportunity for the United States because I believe we should be doing exactly the opposite of what China is doing in this area,” said Haun, a former federal attorney who is now in charge of managing Andreessen Horowitz’s crypto investments helps CNBC’s Delivering Alpha conference.

Earlier this year, China created its own digital currency, the digital yuan, which is controlled by the People’s Bank of China. The currency is intended to replace part of the currency in circulation. China has conducted real-world tests for the digital currency in a number of cities including Shenzhen, Chengdu, and Suzhou.

Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are by design not controlled by a central authority such as a bank or government, and crypto enthusiasts generally say that this is the only way to trust them.

Haun predicted that China “will tie trade, tie-up credits and other aids to the use of essentially its stablecoin,” which is a type of digital currency that is often backed by a currency. Some have linked the timing of the introduction of the digital yuan to Beijing’s renewed efforts to crack down on the broader crypto market.

Haun said the US had taken the right approach so far with central bank digital currencies or CBDCs.

“I’m glad we are studying CBDCs as a country, but we have publicly said as a country that we will study it for a few more years,” she said. “I think it’s really important that politics and the private sector in the US work together.”

Haun also plunged into the regulatory debate in the US, saying it was a “myth” that actors in the crypto industry are against any regulation.

“It’s not that the industry doesn’t want regulation,” said Haun. “She wants clarity, but neither does she want to be treated as a monolith.”

As an example, Haun described non-fungible tokens or NFTs, which are digital collectibles.

Read more about cryptocurrencies from CNBC Pro

“Why should that be regulated as a financial product and service? We don’t believe that should be so,” said Haun, who was hired as a prosecutor to investigate Bitcoin. “Regulation cannot be one size fits all.”

Haun said she was disappointed that she believes the SEC is penalizing crypto companies like Coinbase that try to be compliant. Coinbase, which has Haun on its board of directors, recently suspended its plan to launch a loan product after CEO Brian Armstrong announced that the company received a Wells notice from the SEC threatening to sue if Coinbase went ahead with the offering .

Haun said that some in the industry are punished despite “good faith efforts” while others who bypass regulations and laws “really get a free pass”.

SEE: Katie von Andreessen Horowitz on new crypto funds and the crackdown in China