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United States SEC Chief: No Securities Law Changes for Crypto

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 1 min read

The chairman of American financial regulatory body the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) says he is “not looking to expand securities laws” dating back some 85 years to make provisions for cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs).

Source: iStock/Pgiam

Speaking to Bloomberg, SEC chief Jay Clayton stated, “I am generally not in the law-expansion business.”

Clayton refuted claims that the SEC is “standing in the way of progress” by not making exceptions in the law for cryptocurrencies, and attempted to justify the body’s decision by stating that it had been transparent about its policy from the outset.

Clayton said, “I think a lot of people got excited that somehow we would change the rules to accommodate the technology and they invested their time and effort thinking that would happen. I have been pretty clear from the start, that ain’t happening.”

However, Clayton appeared to suggest the SEC was pro-business and is not interested in any sort of crypto-crackdown – although he repeatedly underlined his opposition to legal reform.

He added, “If we have a way to reduce the cost of payments internationally through technology, I am all for it. But you can’t sacrifice basic principles of securities law, and other law, to allow it to happen.”

And the SEC chief hinted that the regulatory body would likely police Facebook’s Libra project in the same manner as it would an Exchange-traded Fund (ETF). Bloomberg states that Clayton “avoided commenting directly on Libra,” but stated that “if something looks like an ETF and operates like an ETF, the law says it should be regulated like an ETF […] no matter what it’s called.”

Clayton also commented on the ICO boom of 2017-2018, calling many white papers published at the time “disturbing” and “peppered with the types of phrases that always alarm regulators.”

Read more: ‘They Said It’s a Dead-end’: Crypto Startups Tell How to Deal With SEC