‘I’m a huge believer in crypto

Former US Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) chairman Jay Clayton believes crypto technology offers “efficiency benefits” that could be immensely valuable to the financial system.

I am a huge believer in this technology. The efficiency benefits in the financial system and otherwise from tokenization are immense,” he told CNBC’s “Squawk Box”.

The ex-SEC chair noted that crypto is really a wide variety of products and encompasses a whole range of functions, suggesting that the regulatory approach to the sector should be geared towards supporting that which is beneficial.

He explained that even with this broad space, rules governing the US financial system remain “clear and long-standing.”

If you are raising capital for a project, you have to register your capital raising with the SEC. If you are trading securities it has to be on a registered venue,” he noted.

However, he noted that the SEC cannot move to regulate areas like stablecoins as the assets do not fall under securities and are, therefore “outside of SEC[‘s] purview.”

The US should support innovation

Clayton continues to face criticism from some within the crypto space for what has been alleged as an unfair approach to how the regulator viewed Bitcoin and Ethereum versus coins like XRP. Asked to comment about this accusation, the ex-SEC boss noted that he could not comment on matters before the court, but did say that “facts will stand.”

But commenting on the broader crypto space, Clayton said he would like to see the US allow cryptocurrencies (and not take China’s route). He nonetheless insists that this must be done within the boundaries of adequate regulation. 

According to him, regulators should seek a reactive approach targeted at those who violate the country’s market laws. On the other hand, Clayton says it’s better to take a proactive approach that entails supporting and encouraging the adoption of crypto technology across the US financial system.

Both the Fed and SEC, the latter through chair Gary Gensler, have previously indicated that the US will not look to ban cryptocurrencies. And on Wednesday, Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell talked about crypto regulation, noting at a press conference that he didn’t see cryptocurrencies as a risk to financial stability.

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