Be persistent with the SEC, says Franklin Templeton digital asset head


Financial innovators are playing the long game with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and it’s only fair, according to Franklin Templeton head of digital assets Roger Bayston.

“The SEC, like a lot of regulatory bodies, likes to rely on legal precedents. […] Those precedents are being set in courts of law oftentimes, so this is just the process we’re engaged in,” Bayston told Cointelegraph’s Turner Wright at the Consensus event.

Despite frequent expressions of cynicism about the SEC’s “open door” policy, Bayston saw the agency’s behavior as safeguarding the economy and not insurmountable:

“We wouldn’t be in the business for 76 years — the business of trust — if we didn’t have some discipline and persistence and collaborative behavior with the global regulators we face.”

Things are changing at the SEC, Bayston noted, comparing this year to last. “we’ve been pleasantly engaged with the SEC […] and we’re excited as they shift and change their tone,” he said.

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Franklin Templeton launched its Franklin OnChain U.S. Government Money Fund (the “Benji”) in 2023, but getting there was “practically a five-year journey with them [the SEC], helping to illuminate them, educate them on the uses of blockchain technology in operating mutual funds.”

Source: Franklin Templeton Digital Assets

Crypto adds value to blockchain technology

Bayston compared tokenized money funds to stablecoins. The saver gives the operator money, the operator invests it, gives the money back and the profit from investing accrues to the operator.

“Banks and money funds have existed side-by-side for multiple decades. I think this is the same construct that is likely to move forward,” Bayston said.

Franklin Templeton is bullish on cryptocurrency, Bayston suggests:

“We believe in the technologies and therefore we believe that the [crypto] tokens, properly structured, represent value for these technologies.”

Crypto is as important to investment portfolios as technology stocks were 30 years ago, he said.

Franklin Templeton filed its application with the SEC for a spot Ether exchange-traded fund later than other applicants. The agency originally put off a decision on its application until June 11, but approved it along with the others on May 23.

Bayston was not surprised by that. They were “not trying to give anybody an advantage in this nascent marketplace,” he said.

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