SEC Boss Jay Clayton Will be Stepping Down in December 2020
To say that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the United States has been a thorn in the side of the nation’s crypto industry would be an understatement. The agency has the goal of ensuring financial development, but it has become notorious for dragging its heels where regulations about cryptocurrencies are concerned and it has hamstrung several of these digital assets. However, there is a possibility that things might change in the near future. An official release has revealed that the current chairman of the SEC, Jay Clayton, who has held the position since 2017, will now be stepping down from his role by the end of the year.
Clayton is one of the longest-serving heads of the agency and his reputation will remain clear-cut, as he steps down from his position in the next couple of weeks. In his speech, the SEC chairman said the capital markets ecosystem in the US is the most nimble and strongest in the world and due to the hard work of the inclusive and diverse SEC team, they have managed to protect investors, enabled markets to function more efficiently and transparently and promoted the formation of capital for small and large businesses.
Even though he will love touting his achievements, the SEC led by him will not be remembered as fondly in the crypto industry. Under his leadership, the SEC has become somewhat of a Boogeyman for the crypto space. Companies have been fearful of conducting ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings) or list tokens because of a possibility of the agency clamping down on them, which it has done to some. During Clayton’s tenure, a total of $14 billion was taken by the SEC in monetary remedies. A massive $4.68 billion of the total was taken in 2020 alone. Of this total, around $1.26 billion was collected due to unregistered ICOs.
Moreover, the SEC has also not acknowledged the financial products based on cryptocurrencies. Since 2018, there have been five firms that have filed for exchange-traded funds (ETFs) denominated in Bitcoin, but all of them have been denied by the SEC. In most cases, the agency noted that they were unable to guarantee investor protection. Even though there have been multiple acquiesces and tweaks, the agency has remained focused in its belief that Bitcoin-based products are just not safe enough. Eventually, most companies ended up withdrawing their applications or stopped re-applying in frustration.
It should also be noted that the SEC has done little to bring about crypto regulation in the country. Clayton had taken up the position of the SEC chairman when Bitcoin was growing to become mainstream. Despite pleadings and hopes from the top players in the industry to come up with a reliable regulatory regime, the SEC has continued to drag its heels. Other than an occasion crackdown on ICOs, the agency has remained mum about the prospect of crypto regulation. A year passed and then more, but the SEC has not budged or developed any regulations for the industry.