SEC’s Hester Peirce discusses industry regulation, interest in NFTs & ETFs

  • Hester Peirce, aka Crypto Mom, has talked of the SEC’s regulatory approach, its rising interest in NFTs, and the possible fate of Bitcoin spot ETFs.
  • According to her, regulation of the industry should focus on providing clarity rather than enforcement.

SEC commissioner Hester Peirce, affectionately known as “Crypto Mom” for her enduring support of the industry, has given insight into the US SEC’s (Securities and Exchange Commission) outlook on crypto regulation, NFTs, and spot Bitcoin ETFs.

Speaking on CoinDesk TV’s First Mover on Dec. 30, the SEC Commissioner began by noting the industry’s troubles will not magically disappear with the institution of a new stand-alone crypto regulator. Coinbase and US Senator Cynthia Lummis, have been among the most outspoken figures calling on a single crypto regulator for the US. Lummis is one of the country’s lawmakers who favor positive crypto regulation and financial innovation.

I certainly understand the impulse to call for one regulator. I have a couple of problems with it,

Typically in Washington, when you build another regulator, all you get is all the existing regulators plus one.

Regulation of the crypto industry

Peirce, once again, admits to the watchdog’s failure in providing a workable regulatory framework for the industry. She notes that the regulator instead chooses to work by enforcement.

We have an opportunity to sit down and work with people, many of whom have been very open about their willingness to come in and work with us and develop regulation,” Peirce said. “So far, we’ve provided very little concrete regulatory progress. What we’ve done instead is we’ve brought one-off enforcement actions,

Enforcement, according to crypto mom, has been more aggressive since SEC Chair Gary Gensler took over from Jay Clinton. The former chair, though reserved, left behind huge controversies regarding the classification of cryptocurrencies as assets and securities.

Related: Gary Gensler met with Jay Clayton in 2018 and was instrumental in XRP hostility: Report

Peirce, however, points out that Gensler’s approaches are clear evidence of his willingness to set clear rules for the industry. But even then, she hopes the SEC will focus on regulatory clarity “instead of always just falling back on enforcement.”

SEC reaction to NFTs and Bitcoin Spot ETFs

As for non-fungible tokens (NFTs), their growth – $22 billion in trading volume by December – has pulled the SEC’s attention. Crypto mom urged people to look keenly into the digital collectibles since “certain pieces of it might fall within our jurisdiction.” Once again, she warned of fractionalized NFTs – an endeavor that has seen over $215 million in trading volume this year.

On the matter of spot Bitcoin ETFs, Peirce said,

I can’t believe we’re still talking about this as if, you know, we’re waiting for one to happen. We’ve issued a series of denials even recently, and those continue to use reasoning that I think was outdated at the time.

She, however, does not understand the SEC’s denial of such offerings, and can’t therefore accurately predict their fate in 2022. Nonetheless, registering with the SEC might be “what it takes for a spot product to get approved,” she added.

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