SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce compares banning bitcoin to shutting down the internet, stating that governments would be foolish to try. She also offers some insights into whether the SEC will approve a bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) this year.
Governments Would Be Foolish to Try to Ban Bitcoin
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Commissioner Hester Peirce shared her view of governments banning bitcoin and cryptocurrency regulation in an interview at Marketwatchâ€™s Investing in Crypto event last week. She was also asked about the likelihood of the securities regulator approving bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) this year.
Peirce, sometimes known as â€œcrypto mom,â€ has been pushing for the SEC to approve a bitcoin ETF for several years. She was asked during the interview whether banning cryptocurrencies is a possibility since some people still believe that governments can always ban bitcoin, including Bridgewater Associates founder Ray Dalio, The Big Shortâ€™s Michael Burry, and Ron Paul. The commissioner replied:
She pointed out nonetheless that governments â€œcould certainly make the effortâ€ to ban bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. She explained that â€œA government could say itâ€™s not allowed here but people would still be able to do it and it would be very hard to stop people from doing it.â€
However, the commissioner stressed that there is â€œA bigger problemâ€ in banning cryptocurrency, which â€œis that we would be missing out on the innovation around bitcoin and other digital assets if we decided to try to stop them.â€
Will the SEC Approve Bitcoin ETFs This Year?
Commissioner Peirce was also asked if this year is the year the SEC will approve a bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) as many investors are expecting. â€œThat is the big question that everyone has,â€ she replied, adding that her answer is the same one that sheâ€™s had for the last three years, â€œwhich is I donâ€™t know.â€
She noted that the SEC is in a period of transition with a new chairman, Gary Gensler, likely to be confirmed in the next couple of weeks and likely to start shortly thereafter. â€œThat will make a big difference in this question of whether and when an exchange-traded product gets approved,â€ the commissioner opined.
As for the bitcoin market, Peirce detailed:
Peirce then pointed out that Canada has already approved some bitcoin ETFs. â€œYou are seeing much more institutional involvement in the underlying market,â€ she noted, adding that these are â€œthe type of things that might make us comfortable in terms of how that underlying market works.â€
The commissioner emphasized: â€œThe bitcoin market is never gonna look like an equity market, for example, so I think trying to impose that kind of a structure on the underlying market is inappropriate. That was what was hinted at in some of those prior disapprovals.â€
Commenting on how other countries may be ahead of the U.S. in terms of innovation, Peirce said:
â€œOur approach has been much more of a â€˜say no and tell people to waitâ€™ approach,â€ she described. â€œSo I think we really need to turn it around, be willing to work, to build a framework that is appropriate for this industry. Iâ€™m optimistic that with the new chairman coming in, who has deep knowledge of these markets, the crypto markets, that is something that we could do together, to build a good regulatory framework.â€
Do you agree with SEC Commissioner Peirce that governments would be foolish to try to ban bitcoin? Let us know in the comments section below.
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