The newly appointed first ever crypto czar by SEC, Valerie Szczepanik is currently trying to get firms to talk to authorities while working on Bitcoin ETF, determine if certain coins are securities and ICOs. She also warns that crypto users have to either go the compliance route or a different tack will be used by authorities.
First-ever crypto Czar, Valerie Szczepanik interested in innovation
The new top official of SEC, Valerie Szczepanik has been appointed as the first-ever crypto czar just last month. She made the shift from the enforcement division to oversee the nascent crypto industry.
There has been a lot of confusion and lack of regulatory movement towards crypto industry when Szczepanik has been promoted as the senior advisor for digital assets. With the crypto market growing into an $800 billion market in its peak in December last year, the hackles of the regulators rose.
This led to the digital asset department and the appointment of the czar. But, crypto industry and government have yet to strike a balance and come to a mutual understanding.
Szczepanik plans to work on this gap as she shares:
“We want people to come talk to us. When I’m in meetings with folks, I want them to see me as someone who’s interested in communication and back and forth, and looking to encourage innovation that helps investors and the markets.”
Bitcoin ETF, determining the security nature of coins & ICOs
Bloomberg reported the areas Szczepanik is focusing on as revealed by her. At the request of Jay Clayton, the Chairman at SEC, she is handling crypto across its different divisions. The matters covered are:
- The current hot topic of the crypto market, Bitcoin ETF (exchange-traded fund) is on her list. Crypto enthusiasts are eager to get these ETFs approved as these could bring institutional investors into the crypto market and pour in huge investment leading to rising in Bitcoin prices.
- One of the most integral and controversial aspects of the crypto industry i.e. if a coin is securities or not. She has to determine if certain coins are security and then it would be subject to the same trading and disclosure rules as of stocks.
- Initial Coin Offerings (ICO), a popular crowdfunding method that involves the selling of digital tokens is also under her radar. With a rise in pump and dump schemes in ICO space, in order to protect the investors’ interest, SEC is taking steps towards its regulation.
According to the Bloomberg report, this 20-year SEC veteran started looking into cryptocurrencies about six years ago for regulators. About her involvement, she has been quoted as saying,
“A few of us really were digging in,” then further adding her views on reading a crypto project white paper, “if this ever actually gets deployed into the universe, then the SEC will be very busy.”
People are hopeful that Szczepanik’s addition would bring positive things for the crypto industry. She is looking for the crypto players to come out and approach the authorities as she warns:
“What we’re hoping is people will want to come into compliance. If there’s no effort to do that, if instead folks choose to ignore applicable laws, we might take a different tack.”
After SEC commissioner Hester Peirce’s positive attitude towards the crypto market and recent dissent to SEC’s rejection of Winklevoss Bitcoin ETF, Valerie Szczepanik’s approach also raises a hope for crypto investors and enthusiasts.