2020 Presidential Hopeful Andrew Yang Says Regulators 'Owe' Clarity on Rules for Crypto Industry

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Presidential contender Andrew Yang took the stage at Consensus 2019 on Wednesday, facing a friendly crowd as he discussed bitcoin, blockchain and his bid for the White House.

Amid jokes about a possible YangCoin, Yang essentially pitched himself as a sympathetic friend of the crypto community in an appearance that came weeks after his campaign issued a policy statement on digital asset regulation.

As CoinDesk reported in April, Yang promised "Clear guidelines in the digital asset world so that businesses and individuals can invest and innovate in the area without fear of a regulatory shift," a position that he reiterated during his onstage conversation with Coin Center's Neeraj Agrawal.

For the record, Yang told CoinDesk after his talk that he doesn't own any crypto but that he has some funds in a vehicle which has some crypto holdings.

Yang acknowledged the digital privacy concerns that motivate many crypto users, telling the audience: "I'm sympathetic to members of the community who want to have more of these transactions occur in a non-monitored manner or context."

Yang also offered some more light-hearted advice for crypto advocates.

Looking ahead to his possible occupancy in the White House, Yang called blockchain "One of the key technologies" that he envisions forming part of a next-generation economy, and reiterated that he would be a friend to the industry should he prevail in the 2020 vote.

In the follow-up interview, Yang also highlighted the question of how tokens are classified, and reckoned that his push for clarity would in part focus on this area specifically.

Speaking to CoinDesk after the appearance, Agrawal struck a positive note about Yang's perspectives on the technology and the regulatory hurdles the industry faces.

"It was remarkable to see a candidate think through the cryptocurrency policy issues as deeply as Andrew Yang has, and I think this bodes well for cryptocurrency leadership," he said.