In accordance with a study conducted by the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, decentralized finance (DeFi) presents both promising opportunities and risks to the U.S. financial system, consumers, and national security.

Regarding the advantages, the Commission's report highlights that DeFi can provide opportunities ranging from increased transparency and efficiency to broader access to fundamental financial products.

Projects or ecosystems in decentralized finance can utilize their open technological architecture to offer financial products and services to virtually anyone, especially in regions where large populations face exclusion from the traditional financial system. The study also suggests that DeFi can contribute to strengthening the United States' leadership in technology and the provision of financial services, particularly given the investments by countries like China in technologies challenging the dollar-based financial system.

However, the report concludes that without effective regulation, enforcement, and compliance, DeFi projects and ecosystems remain vulnerable to fraud, mismanagement, and serious regulatory violations. The CFTC also points out that periods of extremely high market volatility expose users and stakeholders to significant losses.

Notably, CFTC Commissioner Christy Goldsmith Romero, in her remarks accompanying the study, emphasizes that the findings offer regulators a foundational understanding of DeFi. The report acknowledges that many DeFi platforms are neither fully decentralized nor fully centralized, and Goldsmith believes that grasping these aspects will help regulators and industry players find common ground.

The Commissioner expresses hope that the report can initiate a dialogue between policymakers and the industry, especially since DeFi remains at the center of concerns related to illicit finance risks, cyber hacks, and theft. In addition to identifying benefits and risks, the study recommends steps to mitigate risks to investors, market integrity, and financial stability.

These recommendations include enhancing technical capacity and understanding of DeFi, mapping the existing landscape, conducting a gap analysis, and addressing critical gaps with more funding, personnel, and tools.

January 10