‘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.’ Hester M. Peirce, SEC Commissioner That is the latest from the SEC’s Hester M. Peirce, who is suggesting that the financial industry shouldn’t be too eager to eschew the crypto market.
Peirce, who has earned the moniker Crypto Mom within the digital-currency community for her progressive stance on the opaque industry, made her recent statement during a Friday speech on at the University of Missouri School of Law on fostering innovation and entrepreneurship.
In the past, the commissioner, who was appointed by President Donald Trump on the Securities and Exchange Commission, has criticized lawmakers for not being more open-minded in passing cryptocurrency-related regulations, including approving exchange-traded products pegged to bitcoin and its ilk that could prove groundbreaking for the industry.
The commissioner became a favorite of crypto proponents when in July 2018 — just six months into her tenure at the SEC — she surprisingly dissented from the SEC’s decision to reject Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss’s application for a bitcoin-related ETF. In her dissent she said the judgment sends a “strong signal that innovation is unwelcome in our markets.”
Other applications for a crypto-related ETF from the likes of Bitwise Asset Management, VanEck and Wilshire Phoenix have all hit road blocks, which have weighed on industry sentiment. Some argue downbeat sentiment on the heels of those rejections of products that could make crypto assets more mainstream have partly helped to drag the price of bitcoin, BTCUSD, -0.30% the world’s largest cryptocurrency, to multimonth lows around $3,000.
Read: These may be the 3 biggest hurdles to a bitcoin ETF
On Friday, Peirce said the SEC ends up “substituting our own judgment for that of potential investors in these products.”
“As regulators, therefore, we must allow innovation to proceed, even as we put in reasonable safeguards and watch for unanticipated consequences,” she said.
Read: SEC has to embrace risk, says Commissioner Peirce
Read: The SEC’s rejection of the latest Winklevoss bitcoin ETF proposal offers a big silver lining
The SEC is expected to give its final decision on the VanEck-SolidX ETF proposal on Feb. 27.
Read: One SEC commissioner is establishing herself as the voice of innovation for the crypto market
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Aaron Hankin Aaron Hankin is a MarketWatch reporter in New York who covers cryptocurrency and financial markets.
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