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SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce.
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  • SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce voiced concerns to the Financial Times that potentially stricter rules on the cryptocurrency market will hurt innovation and investment.
  • She said she worries about rules that could make "truly peer-to-peer transactions," more difficult.
  • "Gamification' of retail trading platforms isn't necessarily a bad thing", she said.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Efforts by US officials to place stricter rules on the $1.6 trillion cryptocurrency market risks dampening innovation and investment, Securities and Exchange Commissioner Hester Peirce said in an interview with the Financial Times.

"I am concerned that the initial reaction of a regulator is always to say 'I want to grab hold of this and make it like the markets I already regulate'," Peirce told the FT in an interview published Wednesday. "I am not sure that's going to be great for innovation."

Peirce, a well-known proponent of cryptocurrencies dubbed "Crypto Mom," is a lawyer whose specialty is in financial market regulation. Her comments arrived as US regulators have been working to address a range of issues surrounding the market for digital assets. Meanwhile, volatility in the market is in the spotlight with major swings this year for bitcoin that have pushed its price above $64,000 followed by a recent slide to less than $35,000.

The SEC and Commodity Futures Trading Commission for years have been trying to determine which cryptocurrencies are considered commodities and which are considered securities. A bill passed in April by the House of Representatives aims to bring the agencies together to work on rules for digital assets.

SEC Chairman Gary Gensler told Congress in May he sees many challenges and gaps for investor protection in crypto markets. He also said that none of the exchanges trading crypto tokens has registered yet as an exchange with the SEC.

Peirce, commenting about Gensler's statements on crypto exchanges, told the FT: "I am concerned about trying to make it harder for people to do truly peer-to-peer transactions...I think regulation doesn't all have to happen at government-level. You can have pretty effective self-regulation."

Attempts to enact stricter rules on retail stock trading platforms is also worrisome for Peirce, the FT said. Gensler has said new rules may be needed to tamp down on the "gamification" of retail trading as online apps have used features such as points, rewards, and competitions to bolster user engagement.

"Gamification is not necessarily a bad thing; making financial platforms more user-friendly is not a bad thing," Peirce said. "Platforms like this should look like the other platforms in people's lives."

Read the original article on Business Insider