SEC Commissioner Examines Regulatory Approach to Digital Assets

The crypto asset class and related technology have rapidly developed. First mined in January 2009, bitcoin has surged to more than $60,000, while other blockchains have created their own tokens and related communities. That rapid growth has challenged regulators, and that challenge will only increase along with institutional investor interest in digital assets. Thus, the call for further rulemaking and guidance is only beginning. The above were a few of the points raised by SEC Commissioner Hester M. Peirce in a recent speech in which she explored topics including the legitimate and potentially illicit uses for cryptocurrency; the focus of rulemaking and the SEC’s pilot program; the dangers of regulators taking an overly conservative approach; and the need for regulatory clarity. This article explores the key points from Peirce’s remarks. For further commentary from Peirce, see our two-part coverage of the HFLR’s fireside chat featuring the Commissioner: “Fiduciary Duty, Accredited Investor Standard and CCO Liability” (Nov. 21, 2019); and “Rule Updates, Technological Change, Role of Enforcement and Hot‑Button Issues” (Dec. 5, 2019). For coverage of other speeches by Peirce, see “Can Reddit’s Influence Be Regulated? SEC Commissioner Discusses Recent Market Volatility” (Mar. 18, 2021); “Views on Personal Liability for CCOs” (Nov. 5, 2020); and “Enforcement Efforts and Reforms” (Feb. 20, 2020).

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