Concept of Bitcoin ETF (Exchange Traded Fund), Stock exchange, Investment, Crypto currency

‘Crypto Mom’ Hester Peirce slams SEC for regulatory ambiguity, supports spot ETF

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Commissioner Hester Peirce has claimed that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) refusal to engage with the digital asset users and developers is puzzling and out of character. In her recent speech, the commissioner slammed the regulator for denying a spot exchange-traded fund (ETF) and for its regulatory ambiguity.

Peirce, popularly known as “Crypto Mom,” recently spoke at a conference organized by the Federalist Society, an American legal organization. In a speech titled “Regulating the New Crypto Ecosystem: Necessary Regulation or Crippling Future Innovation,” she expressed her support for a spot ETF, claiming that the regulator had a duty to give investors what they want.

“Watching the SEC refuse over the past four years to engage productively with crypto users and developers has prompted feelings of disbelief at the SEC’s puzzling, out-of-character approach to regulation,” she told the audience, distancing herself from the Commission’s decisions.

The SEC has been denying a spot digital asset ETF for the past four years, despite calls for one and criticism against its denial getting louder over time. Peirce believes that the SEC has “added crypto-specific hurdles to what used to be fairly straightforward processes for approving these pooled investment vehicles.” This denial is made worse by the SEC’s approval of an ETF based on digital asset futures.

Echoing sentiments she has expressed several times in the past, Crypto Mom claimed in her speech that the SEC has continued to hold digital assets “to a more exacting standard than it applies to other products.”

Aside from urging the Commission to approve spot ETFs, she called on it to embark on a more productive path to digital asset regulation. So far, she believes the SEC has scrapped together a regulatory framework through enforcement actions. This approach is not sustainable and only serves to fuel the chaos and confusion rampant in the industry already.

But despite her criticism of the agency she serves in, Peirce believes it can change course and better regulate the nascent industry. 

“The agency just celebrated its 88th birthday last week, and there is no better age than 88 to start grappling with difficult, interesting regulatory questions around crypto to keep the agency’s mind sharp,” she concluded.

Peirce’s criticism comes at a time when the SEC has launched multiple probes into the industry. These include its longstanding inquiry into Do Kwon and his Terraform Labs, which recently had its subpoenas affirmed; a probe into a major exchange following the UST crash; and an investigation into Celsius Network, which recently froze withdrawals for its 1.7 million users amid accusations of reckless risks by founder Alex Mashinsky.

Watch: SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce on Bitcoin Association’s Blockchain Policy Matters

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