Hester Peirce Knocks SEC’s Plans to Add to Crypto Enforcement Staff

The SEC commissioner has been wary of heavy-handed policing of digital assets.

AccessTimeIconMay 3, 2022 at 7:43 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 6:18 p.m. UTC
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U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) member Hester Peirce took to Twitter on Tuesday to voice her opposition to the addition of 20 new jobs on the regulatory agency’s crypto enforcement squad.

“The SEC is a regulatory agency with an enforcement division, not an enforcement agency,” she tweeted on Thursday afternoon. “Why are we leading with enforcement in crypto?”

Earlier on Tuesday, the SEC announced plans to increase the headcount in its newly named Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit, which was previously known as the Cyber Unit, to 50 from the current 30. The agency described that unit – which resides in the Division of Enforcement – as being responsible for “protecting investors in crypto markets and from cyber-related threats.”

SEC Chairman Gary Gensler previously indicated in September that he had plans to expand the unit’s staff.

Dubbed “Crypto Mom” by many in the industry for being crypto savvy, Peirce has been a longtime opponent Gensler’s enforcement-heavy approach to regulation. Gensler has been reluctant to share specifics on how crypto companies can comply with regulations, instead choosing to regulate through enforcement actions.

Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.), co-chairman of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus, who has previously criticized the “overregulation” of crypto, appeared to echo Peirce’s sentiment, retweeting it with the “finger pointing down” emoji.

Responding to a question on Twitter, Peirce also said that she wasn't involved in the cross-government group ordained by U.S. President Joe Biden’s executive order on crypto issued in March.


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Cheyenne Ligon

Cheyenne Ligon is a CoinDesk news reporter with a focus on crypto regulation and policy. She has no significant crypto holdings.

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