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“Crypto Mom” Hester Peirce Suggests SEC Embrace Cryptocurrencies

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Months ago, SEC Commissioner, Hester Peirce dissented from her colleagues after the US SEC denied several Bitcoin ETFs.  Now, she’s further clarifying her position on cryptocurrency, ETFs, and innovation.

“Regulators need to hop out of their helicopters and onto the free range,” she says.

At a fintech conference in San Francisco, the Commissioner — labeled “Crypto Mom” — spent a lot of time discussing cryptocurrencies. In fact, she mentioned Bitcoin at least 55 times in her speech.  In addition, she mentions how there is clear interest for cryptocurrency products a Bitcoin.

“It is clear that there is strong interest among some investors for this type of product, and innovators in the industry have made several attempts to respond to this interest. So far, however, the SEC has not shared these investors’ enthusiasm. To date, the SEC has stopped all such retail products from getting to market. To shift my metaphor a bit, the SEC helicopters in with good intentions, but often without sufficient concern for the way its regulatory blades roil the markets, frustrate innovation, and potentially expose investors to greater risks.”

SEC should Encourage Innovation

In addition, she made it clear that the SEC has power to encourage innovation.  For example, as companies flee the U.S. for regulatory-friendly countries, the U.S. is losing out on cryptocurrency and blockchain talent, she notes.  That alone is discouraging innovation.

“…an essential step to encouraging innovations in our markets is to provide innovators with greater clarity and certainty in their interactions with the Commission and its staff. Innovators are often reluctant to ask for regulatory permission for fear of getting an adverse response. Even worse, perhaps, is getting no response at all or an unclear response. Certainty and predictability are important aspects of a pro-innovation environment.”

 

 

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