United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) commissioner Hester Peirce, sometimes known as Crypto Mom for her ardent support of the industry, spoke Tuesday at a conference hosted by the conservative-libertarian Federalist Society titled “Regulating the New Crypto Ecosystem: Necessary Regulation or Crippling Future Innovation?” Her lengthy remarks — over 4,000 words in the prepared version, which was augmented extemporaneously as she presented it — contain some of the bluntest criticisms of SEC policy she has made yet.
Peirce described the SEC’s attitude towards the crypto market in a “refusal of engage” and suggested the SEC’s refusal to approve a spot trade Bitcoin (BTC product) showed its determination to uphold all things related to Bitcoin to a higher standard that other products it regulates.
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Peirce cited an ETP disapproval Order issued last month as an example for the SEC’s standard denial rationale, which requires a higher level fraud and manipulation resistance than traditional markets. Peirce stated that it is difficult to see how approval could be obtained and that the agency’s position becomes more entrenched every time an order is disapproved. Peirce says:
“Why is this important?” It is possible that investors prefer spot bitcoin ETP over other options. We should care about what investors want.
Peirce continued to think in this vein, considering those who don’t want cryptocurrency “dragged” into traditional financial regulatory structures. She countered with:
“The concern for liberty, personal autonomy and the freedom to invest should also drive you to reject any government that restricts people’s investment options.”
Peirce attributed the SEC’s refusal to approve a Bitcoin spot product, to a general inability to create a regulatory framework for crypto. She outlined a number of options that could be used to improve regulation.
Panelists for the discussion included Ryan Selkis (Masari CEO) and Todd Phillips (Center for American Progress director for financial regulation and corporate governance), and Jerry Brito, executive director at Coin Center.