As the entire crypto sphere is impatiently waiting for the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) decision on the CBOE bitcoin ETF proposal, there has been some positive news on the matter. Speaking with CNBC, an SEC commissioner Hester Peirce, who is one of the four commissioners who will decide the fate of the said proposal, explained why she is in favour of the ETF.
Even though she has served as the commissioner for only half a year so far, Ms. Peirce said she is delighted to have been given the opportunity to influence crypto debates and the future of the nascent industry. She claimed that, “I think we have an important role to play telling the United States and the world that our capital markets are open to innovation. And that’s what sort of drove my dissent last week and what really drove me to come back to the agency as a commissioner.”
Last week SEC has rejected the Winklevoss twins’ proposal to open the world’s first bitcoin ETF, citing safety concerns. Ms. Peirce criticized such a decision with a lengthy letter of dissent, stating that, “The Commission’s interpretation and application of the statutory standard sends a strong signal that innovation is unwelcome in our markets, a signal that may have effects far beyond the fate of bitcoin ETFs.“
The Winklevoss’ proposal was deemed to not have been compatible with the Securities Exchange Act, a claim, which Peirce argues is not correct. According to her, “I take the position that actually the change that was put before us was consistent with the Exchange Act so there’s no reason for us to not allow this product to go ahead. […] Therefore I would have let it go forward whereas my colleagues believe that it should not go forward.“
Reportedly, the pro-bitcoin commissioner was outvoted 3 to 1 and it remains to be seen whether history will repeat itself, when the CBOE proposal is put on the table. Ms. Peirce went on to reveal that even though she does not hold any BTC, she is a big fan of innovation and thinks „that there’s a lot of interesting momentum in this space to solve problems that have been around for a long time […] that can be solved by Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies and blockchain.“
The commissioner even suggested the SEC was focusing on the wrong aspects when considering the now-rejected proposal, saying that, “They went beyond what the statute allows us to do. We should have focused on the market where the exchange-traded product would trade as opposed to focusing on the underlying Bitcoin markets.“ She likened bitcoin to gold and oil markets, where the underlying assets are nowhere near the scrutiny levels of bitcoin.
Ms. Peirce believes that allowing the bitcoin ETF would “increase opportunities for investors, which this last decision did not do” and admitted there is a very thin line between protecting investors and not hindering the industry development, as “any regulatory agency has a difficult time dealing with innovation.“
She finished the interview by saying that, “Of course we want to have protections in place but if we have a system that unwelcoming to innovation, it will go elsewhere or will not happen. And that will hurt real people so I do worry about that.“
The decision for the latest bitcoin ETF proposal is scheduled for the first days of August, although an extension seems likely.
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I have been following the crypto markets since mid 2017, just in time to witness the incredible surge of the digital asset industry. Fascinated by the potential of blockchain technology I’ve started to dig deeper and that’s how I ended up meeting the Toshi Times team. I hold a Political Science degree, therefore the crypto regulation development is particularly interesting for me. I’m also heavily involved with music, running my own label, a YouTube channel and working with distribution. People call blockchain the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ and I believe it will change our daily lives in the coming years and we will have the front row seats to witness it.