Thursday, November 26, 2020
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Commissioner Peirce wants to see the SEC approve a Bitcoin ETF

In a virtual fireside chat with the D.C. Bar, SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce criticized the commission’s long-standing resistance to a Bitcoin ETF.

Moderator Ashley Ebersole asked about the SEC’s highly public dissatisfaction with a long series of Bitcoin ETF proposals in the U.S. Peirce, who is often known as “CryptoMom,” responded with opposition to those rejects: “I’ve been pretty outspoken about my disagreement with my colleagues on disapproving some of these exchange-traded products.”

Bitcoin is not uniquely volatile as a base investment for an exchange-traded fund, Peirce argued. “I would like us to look at how we’ve looked at similar products in the past. Many other products that we have are based on products that are messy,” she continued. “You can still have an orderly product built on top of it.”

Ji Kim of Gemini Trust continued along the same line of questioning as to what the SEC’s concern with a Bitcoin ETF is. Peirce answered “You can’t assume that markets are not going to function if they’re not subject to the exact same sort of regulation as securities markets are.”

I do think that Bitcoin markets are mature. There’s a lot of money in there now, there’s a lot of very sophisticated players in this space and there’s been a lot of work done to regularize the trading with Bitcoin particularly. I would say that the markets are mature enough to build something else on top of.

Regarding a recent interpretation from the Treasury’s bank regulator that banks can custody reserves for fiat-based stablecoins, Peirce noted that the SEC was paying close attention to such developments “There is a lot of regulatory coordination going on.”

Despite the new ruling, Peirce cautioned that some products advertised as stablecoins are in fact securities: “You can’t just put the label stablecoin on it and expect it to be regulated that way.”

Commissioner Peirce started her second term at the SEC last month, meaning she is set to remain on the commission until 2025.

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