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Members of Congress listen via video conference as FTX CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried testifies on Wednesday. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

We're not the Wild West — but give us clearer rules of the road: This was the message to Congress from the heads of six cryptocurrency companies on Wednesday.

Why it matters: Never before have crypto executives been hauled to Washington like this. It was the highest-profile attempt by the industry to plead its case.

Panelists took a shot at pitching preferred rules.

  • "The solution is not to shoehorn digital assets into a regulatory system designed for earlier generations of financial assets," said Charles Cascarilla, CEO of Paxos, which issues stablecoins, digital currencies whose value is pegged to an asset (like the U.S. dollar).
  • "The single biggest thing is just ensuring the reserves are what they say they are. What if there is a trillion-dollar stablecoin with only a billion dollars actually backing it," says Sam Bankman-Fried, CEO of crypto exchange FTX, who called for "periodic third-party audits."

The intrigue: Bitfury CEO Brian Brooks, formerly the acting chief of a bank regulator, said there's no need for new regulatory powersfold the crypto industry into existing systems.

  • "You have on this panel a big stablecoin issuer who has applied for a bank charter. It doesn't look like they are going to get it. The easiest way to supervise them would be to let them in the banking system," said Brooks, referring to Circle, a key member of the organization managing the stablecoin USDC.

The bottom line: The hearing didn't clear up how lawmakers will clamp down on the industry. What's clear is they still have big concerns about fraud, manipulation and abuse.

Go deeper

Sports take crypto mainstream

Illustration: Aïda Amer, Sarah Grillo/Axios

Cryptocurrency companies are inking big sports deals, for everything from stadium naming rights to athlete and apparel partnerships.

Why it matters: If the crypto industry wants to move further into the mainstream, it needs to reach a broader audience.

45 million Americans under winter storm watches near New England

Computer model projection showing the winds moving around the powerful East Coast storm on Saturday Jan. 29, 2022. Image: https://earth.nullschool.net

Nearly 45 million Americans are under winter weather alerts and warnings from North Carolina to northeastern Maine Thursday night, as a major winter storm threatens the region.

Why it matters: It is predicted to be the biggest blizzard since 2018 to strike the Northeast with more than 2 feet of snow possible in parts of eastern Massachusetts, according to the National Weather Service.

Judge nixes Gulf of Mexico oil leases in climate-focused ruling

Tug boats prepare to tow the semi-submersible drilling platform Noble Danny Adkins through the Port Aransas Channel into the Gulf of Mexico on December 12, 2020 in Port Aransas, Texas. Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

A federal judge on Thursday canceled the Biden administration's late 2021 sale of new oil-and-gas drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico.

Why it matters: The ruling that the greenhouse gas emissions analysis by the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) was insufficient is a win for green groups that challenged the decision, as they seek to curb fossil fuel production.