Secretary of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Hester Peirce, spoke on a number of topics related to cryptocurrency and regulation at the MIT Bitcoin Expo 2019 in Boston on 8 March.
Hester Peirce spoke with Gary Gensler, former chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), who believes that there should be more national and uniform regulations on cryptocurrency.
Hester Peirce, however, points out that a certain reticence in setting up regulations is desirable so that the market can regulate itself:
A very important fact to remember is that people regulate each other in their interactions with each other, and that is the whole purpose of the Bitcoin idea, that it would be a community that could regulate itself.
As problems arise, people in that community think about how to deal with those problems. One model would be a government regulator, but I do not think this is the only model.
A person from the audience asked the following question to Peirce:
How can we transform the welfare thresholds of current laws for investors into something that, frankly, is much more reasonable and accessible to regular investors?
Peirce answers the following to the question:
I love that question, and I wish there would be many more people like the applauding audience in the room.
Our regulations for accredited investors state that you must have a certain level of wealth or a certain income level to participate in certain types of investment products.
Personally, I think those rules are not consistent with what it is about in this country, namely that people can take advantage of opportunities, use their talents and their intelligence and use them to improve their lives, and we have created this artificial barrier, so that people can not do it.
Furthermore she adds:
If you want to invest in a stupid project, that is your choice. In any case, I think there is a question about opening up the definition of the accredited investor to refine it.
So again, if you all have ideas about what that should look like, let me know what you think are the right criteria.
Hester Peirce received the nickname “Crypto Mom” from the bitcoin community when she expressed her disagreement with the disapproval of the bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded fund (ETF) application of the Winkelevoss twins last year.
Currently there are two bitcoin ETF applications on the table with the SEC; an application from VanEck and the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) and an application from Bitwise and the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).
Commissioner Robert Jackson recently said in a leaked interview excerpt that he expects a final approval of a bitcoin ETF is most likely. However, Hester Peirce announced shortly afterwards that such approval can still take some time.