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[Spot coverage of Consensus] SEC Commissioner Peirce anxious about 'US falling behind in innovation'

'Crypto mom' has question-and-answer session with Georgetown professor

  • Janice Yunji Kim
  • 2019-05-15 12:09:30
[Spot coverage of Consensus] SEC Commissioner Peirce anxious about 'US falling behind in innovation'
SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce, left. talks with Prof. Chris Brummer of Georgetown University. /Photo by Janice Yunji Kim

“I don’t like the Securities and Exchange Commission’s current regulation very much. Yet the regulatory body won’t demolish the industry with excessive restrictions. The SEC is now endeavoring to block funds for terrorism and money laundering, given the large number of investors in the cryptocurrency market.”

SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce made the comments in the “Consensus 2019” blockchain conference held in New York Monday and exchanged opinions about the cryptocurrency industry. Peirce is actually the sole SEC member who has advocated the cryptocurrency industry. She has been praising the industry for attracting talented people and putting innovation into action. Peirce also has hit out at the current situation in which regulations fail to catch up with the development speed of the cryptocurrency industry. The following are questions and answers Prof. Chris Brummer of Georgetown University had with Peirce.

Are you satisfied with the current regulations? In what areas of the cryptocurrency industry will there be clearer regulations?

First of all, I don’t represent the SEC. Personally, I am never content with (the current lack of regulation). There have not been meaningful regulatory guidelines yet in the U.S. Further, important SEC decision-makers have not expressed views on the cryptocurrency industry. There have never been influential statements.

But what’s important is that the SEC has not neglected the cryptocurrency industry. To communicate with more startups openly, we have been interacting with startups under the initiative of “FinHub,” a unit exclusively in charge of fintech. This will have a positive impact on the upcoming cryptocurrency regulation. We can think that we are making progress little by little.

FinHub is reportedly in operation in ways that startups explain their own technology and future. How could they persuade regulators that blockchain would not end up with a simple technology?

Some people already appeal to the SEC through technology demonstration. There are earnest desire and tensions because regulators can confirm technology with their eyes. If startups answer questions confidently, good results come out. That’s because assertive answers can prove the extent of agony startups have concerning why they apply the technology and how the relevant business affects the world.

There has been much discussion about such cryptocurrency-related services as ETF. Do you think the time is right to launch an ETF?

I thought the time was right a year ago. Yet this does not mean that this is not the right time. Certainly, there are things that need to be checked clearly because the SEC looks at a heap of problems occurring in the cryptocurrency market like market manipulation negatively and has questions about the market itself. So people in the cryptocurrency ecosystem have to make a move. They need to visit the SEC and explain what security measures are being introduced to keep funds safe.

The regulatory sandbox issue must be tackled. The regulatory sandbox will certainly serve as the engine of growth when it comes to regulating new industries but America’s regulatory system looks piecemeal.

I also have concern about the regulatory sandbox. Probably this might stifle the industry having an enough growth potential. The sandbox may cause young people to build the sandcastle. You want the kids to figure it out themselves. Personally, I hope that the crypto community will educate SEC Commissioners and decision-makers. Then the SEC will come up with better regulatory guidelines encouraging industrial development.

At a time when all countries around the world revamp regulations to enter the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry, how are you evaluating the current cryptocurrency market?

American kids have a lot of enthusiasm about the blockchain industry. What’s regrettable is that while other countries struggle to fix regulations to become renovating nations, the U.S. has failed to clarify relevant regulations. The U.S., in fact, has been far away from “innovation.” I personally hope that the U.S. will take this opportunity to win over competitors in various fields. /yjk@decenter.kr


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