According to a top official from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), a clear cryptocurrency regulatory regime is urgently required with major companies, including Mastercard Inc, Tesla Inc, and BNY Mellon Corp embrace the digital asset class.
During an interview, Hester Peirce, a Republican commissioner at the SEC said, while it may be too soon to draw a policy conclusions from the “Reddit Rally” in GameStop Corp and other stocks, however it was “wonderful” that a new generation of investors were able to participate in the market.
Dubbed as the “Crypto Mom” by crypto enthusiasts because of her supportive stance on the asset class, Peirce has long advocated regulators to create clear rules that would allow crypto assets to thrive without fear of breaking the law.
“It’s not only that there have been calls for clarity for some time and that a new administration brings the chance to take a fresh look, but it also is a moment where it seems others in the marketplace are also taking a fresh look,” said Peirce.
Earlier this month, Bitcoin hit record highs after Tesla said it had invested $1.5 billion in the cryptocurrency and BNY Mellon saying it would help clients hold, transfer, and issue digital assets.
Mastercard has also said it would open up its network to some cryptocurrencies.
“That adds to the urgency of us taking some sort of action in this area to provide more clarity,” said Peirce.
Last month, the U.S. stock market plunged into crisis after Reddit users, trading on low-cost retail platforms, banded together to drive up the prices of GameStop and other stocks, squeezing hedge funds that had bet against those shares.
The resulting volatility triggered massive margin calls from “clearing” houses that guarantee trades, prompting several retail platforms to suspend buying in the affected securities.
The resulting incident sparked concerns among lawmakers on both sides of the aisle with Vlad Tenev, CEO of trading app Robinhood, Ken Griffin, CEO of hedge fund Citadel LLC and others involved in the episode having to testify before Congress on Thursday.
The SEC is examining the “gamut” of issues including market volatility, the role of retail brokers, and how the post-trade market functioned, said Peirce while adding, “To see new investors participating in the markets is a good thing and of course we want them to be educated and skeptical”
A wide range of market participants could actually help improve price formation, she said.