Outgoing SEC Chairman: More Regulation Coming

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  • The outgoing SEC chair Jay Clayton has said that “we’re going to see more regulation” in the cryptocurrency payments space.
  • Clayton said that they didn’t class Bitcoin as a security, focusing instead on ICOs that clearly breached securities rules
  • Clayton served at the SEC for four years, taking in the 2017 crypto bull run

The outgoing Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chair Jay Clayton has said that more regulation is coming in the cryptocurrency space as he prepares to step down from his role. Clayton, who is due to leave his post at the end of the year after four years in charge of the SEC, made the comments to CNBC’s Squawk Box show yesterday, where he also said that Bitcoin represents “stored value” and that its popularity has been driven by inefficiencies in the traditional payments system.

SEC More Focused on ICOs Than Bitcoin

Clayton was speaking in response to recent comments by JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon who said that “if Bitcoin gets bigger and bigger and bigger it will be regulated”. Clayton first
confirmed that during his tenure the SEC “did not regulate Bitcoin as a security”, although he stated that they did make a particular effort to clamp down on fraudulent ICOs.

Clayton continued on the subject, adding that, “We determined that Bitcoin was not a security, it was much more a payment mechanism and stored value.” He then attributed Bitcoin’s recent rise in part to inefficiencies in the existing payment mechanisms, inefficiencies that are “driving the rise of Bitcoin.”

More Regulation Coming, Says Clayton

Confirming Dimon’s belief, Clayton said that more regulation was indeed likely as the space grows:

…we’re going to see more of that (people turning to digital assets) and we’re going to see this mature and we’re going to see more regulation around the payment space.

Clayton is due to step down as SEC chairman after being appointed in January 2017, during which time he has overseen huge change in the cryptocurrency space. The desire to regulate cryptocurrencies was brought into the open by the 2017 bull run, since when Clayton has indeed clamped down anything relating to the securities space, in particular ICOs, while leaving Bitcoin more or less alone having classed it as not being a security.

Despite the positive decision by the SEC during Clayton’s time to not label Bitcoin as a security, he also oversaw multiple rejections of Bitcoin ETF applications, which many believe has harmed institutional adoption. This was, however, before the recent boom in Bitcoin adoption by such individuals and organizations, which, some believe, has improved Bitcoin’s chances of getting an ETF approved.