SEC’s Hester Pierce wants more decentralization in the financial system


United States Securities and Exchange Commission Commissioner Hester Pierce has advocated for more decentralization in the U.S. financial system, along with a softer approach to crypto regulation and enforcement. 

Hester Pierce, also known as ‘Crypto Mom,’ closed her fireside chat with CNBC’s MacKenzie Sigalos at the ETHDenver conference on Feb. 29 by stating that decentralization benefits the U.S. financial system.

“Centralization means that you have concentrated risks,” she said before adding:

“Decentralization can actually bring resilience and strength to the financial system. So I’d love to see more resilience and strength … points of centralization always keep me up at night.”

Hester Pierce speaking at ETHDenver. Source: Cointelegraph

Hester Peirce, a former lawyer, was appointed by former President Donald Trump to the SEC in 2018. She has been affectionately called ‘Crypto Mom’ for her support of the industry and has often shown dissent against the over-regulation of digital assets. 

Earlier in the talk, Pierce responded to questions about the proposed legislation that aims to treat decentralized technologies such as network nodes, validators, noncustodial wallets, mining pools, and blockchain software as financial institutions.

“It is troubling,” said Pierce who went on to say that there was still a lot of confusion over who has to register.

Sigalos also spoke about how the broker/dealer rule would redefine the classification of exchanges and could impact and encompass DeFi, decentralized exchanges, and developers, to which Pierce responded:

“The whole concept of decentralization stands very much in contrast to what we’re used to at the SEC.”

“When you have people working together and someone interacting with code instead of with a person or entity, it’s a real challenge for the SEC to figure out what to do with that,” she added.

She added that it wasn’t even necessarily the SEC’s role to “even get comfortable with crypto” 

“Our job is to figure out where the securities laws are implicated to try and help people get disclosure where there are securities, and then let people make their own decisions.”

The SEC adopted rules on Feb. 6 that would require more market participants to register with it and comply with federal securities laws bringing DeFi into greater oversight.

Related: Hester Pierce against ‘gag rule,’ lawmakers challenging regulators

Peirce added that right now, the SEC is in “enforcement only mode,” but there needs to be provisions to allow projects to grow and become decentralized without the threat of being sued.

“You don’t go after people that are asking for clear rules on how to proceed in this space.”

The SEC Commissioner also spoke about a wide range of crypto-related topics, including the agency’s future following the U.S. Presidential election later this year, spot Bitcoin ETFs, and CBDCs coupled with the specter of state financial surveillance.

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