Jay Clayton Stepping Down, Will Hestor Peirce Be Next SEC Head?
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Jay Clayton is stepping down as the head of the agency at the end of the year, and it’s leading many in the Bitcoin space to wonder if Hester Peirce will take the helm.
Clayton was expected to step aside next year and take on the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York role after being recommended by President Trump. However, with Biden’s likely appointment, things have taken a sour turn for Jay Clayton.
Clayton, who has been at the head of the SEC since 2017 and is one of the agency’s longest-serving bosses, is seen by many in the Bitcoin space as a major stumbling block for Bitcoin adoption.
Under Clayton, the SEC took a hard line on cryptocurrencies, rightly defining almost all of them as securities. This led to a harsh crackdown on initial coin offerings (ICO), which were all mostly deemed to be securities.
Clayton was also disliked in the Bitcoin space for constantly dismissing Bitcoin Exchange Traded Funds (ETF) proposals.
After one rejected proposal, Clayton said he couldn’t understand why anyone would think a Bitcoin ETF was a possibility because getting an honest report on the Bitcoin price was impossible.
During Jay Clayton’s tenure, no less than five firms filed multiple Bitcoin ETFs, and of course all of them were denied, which the denial was usually put down to a ‘lack of investor protection.’
Despite multiple tweaks to the Bitcoin ETF proposals, the SEC continuously denied them all, which led to all companies finally withdrawing their applications.
It’s also worth noting that the SEC didn’t try to promote growth or offer much regulatory guidance in the Bitcoin or digital asset space in the United States.
The lack of regulatory clarity led many prominent computer engineers and investors to fear a brain and financial drain from the US.
Will ‘Crypto Mom’ Hester Peirce Be Next Head of SEC?
With Jay Clayton about to leave 6 months earlier than expected, who will be next head of the SEC? Will the Biden administration go for a more progressive leader? Will they appoint Hester Peirce is what the Bitcoin community want to know?
Hester Peirce has been a strong vocal advocate in the SEC. Colloquially known as Crypto Mom, Peirce has recently been re-elected to serve as a commissioner in the SEC, and would be the best candidate for anyone in the Bitcoin space.
Speaking of Clayton’s early dismissal, Peirce tweeted, ‘It will be difficult to bid farewell to Chairman Clayton. He has been an excellent chairman, who has led the agency during a very challenging, but nevertheless very productive, period.’
Crypto Mom continuously challenged the SEC’s point-blank refusal of any Bitcoin ETF. And she notably broke from her fellow commissioners in 2018 when the SEC rejected a proposed rule change that would have allowed the listing of the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust ETF.
Peirce publicly dissented again in February this year after another Bitcoin ETF denial by the SEC. This time Crypto Mom went further and wrote a scathing attack on the SEC’s decision, saying it seemed unlikely that a Bitcoin ETF was unlikely due to the SEC’s ‘ever-shifting standards.’
‘This order is the latest in a long string of disapproval orders that the Commission has issued regarding Bitcoin-related products,’ wrote Crypto Mom. ‘This line of disapprovals leads me to conclude that this Commission is unwilling to approve the listing of any product that would provide access to the market for Bitcoin and that no filing will meet the ever-shifting standards that this Commission insists on applying to Bitcoin-related products—and only to Bitcoin-related products.’
Hester Peirce is firmly behind the innovation and possibilities Bitcoin offers, and she’s well aware of the dangers of not moving quickly enough.
Bye Bye Jay Clayton, Hello Crypto Mom?
Jay Clayton hasn’t been all bad. There were many securities dressed as cryptocurrencies during the ICO craze, and a hard line was necessary.
However, he has been unfortunately blind to the possibilities of Bitcoin’s innovative infrastructure, and has made bad excuse after bad excuse to deny a Bitcoin ETF.
Crypto Mom’s aggressive championing of the Bitcoin and digital asset space has seen her become one of the leading figures in the space, and there is a chance that she will be promoted to lead the SEC.
It all depends how progressive the Biden administration aims to be. If they maintain the status quo, it’s highly unlikely.
However, leading figures in both Silicon Valley and Wall Street are firmly getting behind Bitcoin, and pressure from the big guns there could ensure the SEC appoints a Bitcoin-friendly chairperson.
Hester Peirce’s appointment as head of the SEC would arguably be the most significant thing to happen to the Bitcoin space, as it would usher in a flurry of innovation and Bitcoin traded products such as ETFs.
Author: Tommy Limpitlaw
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