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SEC chairman says DLT can foster capital growth; Revealed that agency has been studying digital assets

SEC Chairman Jay Clayton said that his agency has been studying digital assets and will be taking a ‘measured’ yet ‘proactive’ approach on the crypto industry.

Image: Screenshot of CNBC Television

Thu, 12 Dec 2019, 07:42 am UTC

The Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission has released a testimony for the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. Published on Tuesday, Dec. 10, Clayton outlined the regulatory agency’s stance on blockchain and digital ledger technology.

In recent years, the SEC has taken a draconian approach to the budding crypto industry due to the proliferation of bad actors in the space. However, Clayton believes that they’ve loosened up with their strict strategies, adding they’ve been allocating significant time and resources in studying digital assets.

“As I have previously stated, I am optimistic that developments in distributed ledger technology can help facilitate capital formation, providing promising investment opportunities for both institutional and Main Street investors. Overall, I believe we have taken a measured, yet proactive regulatory approach that both fosters innovation and capital formation while protecting our investors and our markets,” Clayton said.

SEC’s recent approvals

Although most would argue that the SEC’s stance is still too stifling for the growth acceleration of the crypto industry, the agency has indeed approved several projects in the ecosystem. In July, the regulatory body gave a no-action notice to the gaming reward firm Pocketful of Quarters (PoQ) allowing it to sell its tokens without the need to register them as securities.

In October, the SEC gave the New York-based regulated financial institution Paxos a no-action relief, which gave the firm the ability to settle certain listed U.S. equity securities. The first entities that will be using Paxos’ platform are Credit Suisse and Société Générale in a bid to streamline their respective settlement process.

And earlier this month, the SEC approved the New York Digital Investment Group (NYDIG) to offer the shares of its new bitcoin fund to institutional investors. The price of each share is $10.

Clayton mentions Telegram case

Despite this progress, however, the SEC has been colliding with some high profile entities that are trying to enter the crypto space. Among them are Telegram and its eyebrow-raising token sale last year that generated $1.7 billion.

Clayton referenced the on-going case in the testimony, although he didn’t name Telegrams outright. The latest development on this front is the involvement of Credit Suisse and BNY Mellon that allegedly helped Telegram moved the aforementioned fund, an activity that raised some alarm bells given the aversion of financial firms toward the crypto businesses.

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