During her five years at the SEC, Commissioner Peirce noted a noticeable increase in awareness and understanding of digital assets within the organization. However, she observed that when it came to enforcement actions, there seemed to be a continuation of the status quo.
By Pradeep Saran, September 19,2023
Hester Peirce, one of the five commissioners at the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), known for her support of cryptocurrencies, recently called for greater clarity regarding digital assets during an interview with Cointelegraph at the Permissionless II conference in Austin, Texas on September 11. Peirce expressed surprise at the SEC’s perceived lag in developing a regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies since her appointment to the commission in 2018. She cited countries like Switzerland and Singapore as jurisdictions that have made significant progress in global crypto regulation but cautioned that the U.S. situation couldn’t be directly compared.
Peirce acknowledged that there are individuals within the SEC who possess substantial knowledge about cryptocurrencies, whether within the FinHub department or across various divisions. She noted that she has witnessed an increase in crypto expertise during her tenure at the SEC.
Under the leadership of Chair Gary Gensler, the SEC has faced criticism from industry leaders, regulators, and lawmakers for what has been described as a “regulation by enforcement” approach towards digital assets. As of the publication date, the SEC had initiated civil actions against prominent crypto companies, including Coinbase, Binance, and Ripple. Additionally, the SEC had not granted approval for a spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) to be listed in U.S. markets. In August, Grayscale Investments won an appeal against the SEC’s rejection of its spot ETF application, potentially prompting a review of the decision.
Peirce refrained from commenting on specific legal cases involving the SEC but encouraged institutions operating within the crypto industry to engage in dialogue with the commission to chart a path forward. She hinted that the SEC might reconsider its policies regarding cryptocurrencies, emphasizing the importance of providing concrete proposals for clarity.
Peirce concluded her remarks by encouraging the crypto community not to lose faith in the United States as a place to build innovative projects. She expressed optimism that the current confusion would eventually subside and reiterated her desire for the U.S. to remain a favorable environment for innovation. She urged industry participants to present well-defined ideas and seek clarity from the SEC.
At the time of the article’s publication, legal representatives from the SEC were in discussions with Binance.US counterparts during a court hearing in Washington, D.C., regarding a motion for expedited discovery in an ongoing civil suit. This hearing took place following an announcement by Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao that Binance.US CEO Brian Shroder was taking a break from the company, amid reports of other executive departures.