SEC’s Peirce Warns Against Stifling Crypto Innovation

“You can have pretty effective self-regulation,” Peirce said in an interview with the Financial Times.

Jun 9, 2021 at 10:45 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 1:08 p.m. UTC

Hester Peirce, one of five commissioners on the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commissioner, said in an interview in the Financial Times that overzealous regulation of cryptocurrency in the U.S. could hinder innovation.

“I am concerned that the initial reaction of a regulator is always to say ‘I want to grab hold of this and make it like the markets I already regulate’,” Peirce told the FT. “I am not sure that’s going to be great for innovation.” 

Peirce has been a longtime advocate of a calibrated approach in regulating crypto. During CoinDesk’s Consensus21 last month, she said custody rules in the U.S. should be updated to accommodate digital assets .

In the Financial Times interview, Peirce pointed out that self-regulation remains a “pretty effective” way to address digital assets, a comment the FT suggested exposes a split at the top of the SEC, as its new chair, Gary Gensler, looks to tighten regulation of cryptocurrency.

The SEC commissioner also defended what she called the “gamification” of capital markets seen earlier this year when retail traders used the Robinhood platform to drive up the price of shares of video-game retailer GameStop – a phenomenon that is under the scrutiny of regulators.

“Gamification is not necessarily a bad thing; making financial platforms more user-friendly is not a bad thing,” Peirce said. “Platforms like this should look like the other platforms in people’s lives.” 

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