"One of the things I truly believe in is that investors can make their own decisions." – Commissioner Hester Peirce
In May, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced it would hold a town hall meeting on June 13 at Georgia State University in Atlanta, at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
The meeting is intended to bring investors and regulators together to collaborate on ideas and talk about a variety of topics, such as current events in the cryptocurrency ecosystem, and will feature breakout sessions where investors will be able to speak directly with SEC commissioners. All five commissioners will be in attendance, including SEC chair Jay Clayton.
ETHNews spoke with Commissioner Hester Peirce about her goals and aspirations for the town hall meeting, as well as her views on cryptocurrency regulations.
Commissioner Peirce was sworn into the SEC in January of this year. Peirce is a lawyer specializing in financial market regulation and worked as the senior research fellow and director of the Financial Markets Working Group at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University before joining the SEC.
"Rules should be in place that are effective, but we need to make sure we are not stifling imaginations." – Peirce
Collaboration Is The Key
ETHNews: What is the overall purpose of this meeting?
Hester Peirce: This meeting is a chance for us as a commission to interact with investors outside of DC. It gives us the opportunity to engage with investors on a number of relevant topics.
ETHNews: What are your personal goals for this meeting?
HP: It will be very useful to hear directly from investors – what they are thinking and how they are thinking about it. This will help me to shape my thinking and how I approach my job in trying to put together a regulatory framework that works to achieve the objectives of the investors, such as saving for retirement or putting their children through college.
My own goals as a regulator include really making sure that people can make the best use of their talents, time, and money to achieve whatever their goals are. In my view, economic liberties are very important; people should be able to make their own decisions about how they want to spend their time and their money.
The SEC should encourage people to develop their talents, and that requires a capital formation framework that works efficiently. I want to make sure that an investor can invest in an enterprise that is very promising, and that entrepreneurs who have great ideas about how to change our society for the better are able to find investors.
ETHNews: How do you see this meeting affecting the crypto industry as a whole?
HP: This meeting is just one aspect of how the SEC is looking at crypto. A key part of what we are doing is enforcement actions against noncompliant and malicious actors. But I also want to have a positive vision of trying to work with people who have interesting ideas about crypto and blockchain to figure out if our rules need to be adjusted. Maybe we just need to provide guidance. We want our doors to be open, so people can come talk to us about their ideas, so we can get a sense of how to approach things.
Valerie Szczepanik was just appointed as associate director of the Division of Corporation Finance. She will be the SEC's point person on crypto issues and will be able to take in feedback from the people working on crypto ideas as well as investors. I think that will be an important part of the SEC's efforts to make sure our regulatory framework functions in a way that works for crypto.
ETHNews: Will the SEC treat Ether or XRP as a security?
HP: You are probably not surprised that I'm not going to answer with specifics, but the first step is to give people guidance as to what constitutes a security, so then people can comply with the securities laws for those things. The SEC has long had a framework that has shaped what a security is. So, it's about figuring out how that framework applies to this unique context, and that's not always easy because crypto is not uniform, and is always changing.