Commissioner Hester M. Peirce of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) made new remarks on Thursday urging regulators to honor the right to financial freedom.
Talking about the digital assets sector, Peirce, who is known as ‘Crypto Mom’ in the industry, said crypto-regulation is one area where “intersection between personal liberty and regulation looms large.”
She noted the new challenges posed by crypto because they are rooted in a key principle of people’s fundamental right to engage with one another without a trusted third party. At the same time, regulators are used to dealing with intermediaries “because they are easy to grab hold of and regulate.”
Peirce discusses how these challenges are growing as crypto evolves while the SEC struggles with the issues with their regulatory nature.
Now with the explosion of decentralized finance, they “will pose thorny questions and decisions for us in the coming years.”
Reembrace national passion for personal freedom
Peirce remains an advocate for the crypto industry. Once again, she wants regulators to “figure out a way to embrace the personal liberty principles undergirding it,” especially now that crypto is gaining adoption outside and inside the legacy financial system. She said in her speech,
“If we were instead to steamroll the technology’s liberty-enhancing features under the weight of regulation, we would lose a lot of the power of the new technology to afford opportunities to people whose autonomy has previously been curbed by.”
According to her, regulators are using climate policy as a disguise as it “does not raise the same kind of fears that other types of central planning would.” Peirce said,
“The decentralization of crypto is the opposite of central planning, which is making something of a comeback, with financial regulation as one of its primary tools. After an unsuccessful history, people would reject central planning out of hand unless it came in a disguise. The disguise of the day is climate policy.”
Directing these efforts through financial regulation will only make the capital markets less effective and more brittle at serving all sectors of the economy.
The crypto-friendly SEC commissioner also touched upon the accredited investors, which requires a person to be wealthy or have a high income. Although the accredited investor category has been expanded slightly, Peirce added,
“the presumption that people need to entreat a regulator for permission to invest still offends principles of personal liberty, which allow people both to earn and spend money as they see fit.”
Today’s “well-intentioned regulations” are very much in tension with personal liberty, and Peirce wants the regulators to “reembrace our national passion” for individual freedom.