A commissioner at the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has said that the official regulation of cryptocurrencies could actually stunt the technology’s development. Hester Peirce’s comments come at a time when the SEC has been accused of acting contrarily and gives hope to those wanting governments to take a step back to prevent over-regulation
Also read: Analysis: Understanding the SEC’s Stance on Crypto
Allowing the Technology to Come Into Its Own
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commissioner Hester Peirce was speaking at the University of Missouri School of Law on Feb. 8 when she hinted that government regulation could actually cause the crypto industry difficulties. The lawyer, who has been nicknamed the “Crypto Mom” for her generally positive comments towards cryptocurrencies, said that it may be a better idea for regulators to step back and allow blockchain projects to mature, and that hastily drawn up regulations could harm the industry:
We might be able to draw clearer lines once we see more blockchain projects mature. Delay in drawing clear lines may actually allow more freedom for the technology to come into its own.
Peirce said that she would keep an eye on ensuring no laws harm crypto projects, citing stablecoin Basis, which is shutting down and returning its $133 million in capital to investors due to the difficulty of complying with securities regulations. “I am not going to comment on what I think about the merits of any particular project or how the securities laws apply to it, but my antennae will go up when apparently legitimate projects cannot proceed because our securities laws make them unworkable,” she said.
Peirce further added that the SEC could at times be overly negative towards cryptocurrencies, and that this is something that needs to change: “We rightfully fault investors for jumping blindly at anything labeled crypto, but at times we seem to be equally impulsive in running away from anything labeled crypto. We owe it to investors to be careful, but we also owe it to them not to define their investment universe with our preferences.”
Diverse Perspectives Needed
Peirce’s comments come at a time when the SEC’s views on cryptocurrencies haven’t been wholly clear. Last year the SEC rightly took enforcement action against initial coin offerings and other crypto companies perpetrating fraud. But, as Peirce noted, this doesn’t mean regulators and government agencies should be automatically skeptical about everything to emanate from the cryptocurrency sector.
As Angela Walch, a professor of law at St. Mary’s University School of Law and a research fellow at the Centre for Blockchain Technologies at University College London previously said, it is important for regulators to have a “diverse perspective,” as all too often they can be overly focused on protecting the financial system and indifferent to innovation and the benefits cryptocurrencies could bring.
What do you think about Hester Peirce’s comments and the SEC’s stance on crypto? Let us know in the comments section below.
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Mathew Di Salvo