Crypto could be ‘money of the Internet’: Hester Peirce

Financial regulators are too paternalistic. This is the viewpoint of “Crypto Mom,” better known as U.S. Securities and Exchange (SEC) Commissioner Hester Peirce. She earned her moniker for calling out regulators on several occasions for their heavy-handed approach to digital currencies and she’s back again, stating that it’s possible crypto could eventually become the money of the Internet.

Peirce was on hand for the Digital Asset Compliance and Market Integrity (DACOM) Summit held Thursday in New York, where she conducted a Q&A with attendees that focused mostly on the state of digital currencies and their regulatory oversight. Always excited about the prospects for blockchain and crypto innovation, she stated, “It’s been an honor to be adopted by a group of people who are really thinking in such exciting and interesting ways and trying to think about ways to change the world,” adding that, as the technology advances, digital currencies will become “much more the money of the Internet.”

Crypto Mom also took a few minutes to reiterate her stance that the SEC is not giving digital currencies their fair attention. She asserted, “If you want a government that’s more forward-thinking on innovation, that means that if something goes wrong, you can’t go running back to the government and say ‘Hey, you didn’t protect me from myself!’ …I think we need to be a little less paternalistic.”

Peirce has become somewhat disenchanted with how slowly the SEC is moving on crypto-related activity. A case in point is how long it is taking to make a decision on crypto exchange-traded funds (ETF), still not able to draw its own conclusion more than two years after the subject first came up. It has repeated sought delay after delay in making a decision, only to ultimately shoot all crypto ETF requests down.

She asserted during the summit, “When I came to the SEC one of my hopes was to help change the way it addresses innovation. In my first round I saw it was slow.” Peirce believes that this slow approach is one of the reasons the U.S. is losing its technological edge and becoming less competitive, a viewpoint that has been shared by other regulators and lawmakers for some time. However, until SEC Chairman Jay Clayton either opens his eyes or is replaced, the odds of significant changes being made are slim.

Since commissioners serve five-year terms and Clayton has been in for just over two, it could still be a while before someone else is at the helm.

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