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Hester Peirce believes crypto businesses shouldn’t lose up on the US despite the SEC being involved in legal battles

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The commissioner expressed witnessing a notable upswing in awareness and comprehension of digital assets during her tenure of five years at the SEC. However, she lamented that enforcement actions remained largely stagnant. Hester Peirce, one of the five commissioners at the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and a fervent advocate for cryptocurrencies, has implored legislators and regulators to shed light on the digital asset landscape.

Addressing Cointelegraph at the Permissionless II conference held in Austin, Texas on September 11, Peirce voiced her surprise at the SEC’s apparent lag in formulating a regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies. She recounted that when she joined the commission in 2018, she had not anticipated the SEC to be “this far behind.” She drew comparisons with nations like Switzerland and Singapore, which seemed to be at the vanguard of global crypto regulation but noted that such comparisons did not do justice to the complex situation in the United States.

Peirce articulated, “I haven’t observed substantial improvements. Within the agency, there are individuals well-versed in crypto, whether within FinHub or across various divisions. We have experts who have significantly bolstered their knowledge during my tenure.”

Under the stewardship of Chair Gary Gensler, the SEC has faced vehement criticism from industry leaders, regulators, and lawmakers. It has often been accused of adopting a “regulation by enforcement” stance towards digital assets. As of the time of this publication, the commission found itself embroiled in legal battles against crypto firms Coinbase, Binance, and Ripple. Additionally, it had not granted approval for the listing of a spot Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded fund (ETF) in U.S. markets. In August, Grayscale Investments successfully appealed the SEC’s rejection of its spot ETF application, potentially prompting a review.

Peirce refrained from commenting on any specific court case involving the SEC but urged institutions within the crypto industry to engage in a dialogue with the commission on charting a path forward. She hinted at the possibility of the agency having a change of heart regarding crypto-related policies: “Do not lose hope in the United States. This phase of uncertainty will pass. The United States remains a fertile ground for innovation, and I am committed to maintaining that status. However, please come forward with concrete proposals, … ponder tangible ways in which you seek clarity.”

At the time of this publication, SEC lawyers were in deliberations with their counterparts from Binance.US in a Washington D.C. courtroom. The discussions revolved around a motion pertaining to the need for expedited discovery in the civil lawsuit. These proceedings followed Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao’s announcement that Binance.US CEO Brian Shroder was taking a well-deserved break from the crypto firm, amidst reports of other high-level departures.

Crypto products and NFTs are unregulated and can be highly risky. There may be no regulatory recourse for any loss from such transactions. Crypto is not a legal tender and is subject to market risks. Readers are advised to seek expert advice and read offer document(s) along with related important literature on the subject carefully before making any kind of investment whatsoever. Crypto market predictions are speculative and any investment made shall be at the sole cost and risk of the readers.