SEC Chairman Jay Clayton: Bitcoin’s Best Friend or Cryptocurrency Foe?
Jay Clayton – The Best Friend for Bitcoiners Hope?
It's easy to fall under the impression that everyone from outside the Bitcoin world looking back at it has a certain level of hostility towards it, specifically when the US government looks at it.
But, for the SEC at least, they may have at least some elements that veer more on the side of interest when it comes to Bitcoin. This individual is the SEC Chair, Jay Clayton, who, according to meeting transcripts, held a deep knowledge of cryptocurrencies, and has engaged in heated debates with colleagues over the very same subject.
With the culmination of events such as the looming decisions regarding Exchange Traded Funds the various groups have come forward with, the current bearish run cryptos are facing, including the future definition of cryptocurrencies means that any friends they can get constitutes one more than before.
Transcript – Jay Clayton's Heated Debate With Peers Over Cryptocurrencies
In early June, the Associate Director of Enforcement in the Ft. Worth Regional Office of the SEC, Eric Werner, began by welcoming his boss (Clayton) to Houston for the round-table meeting. Due to the state's Sunshine Laws, such events were required to be recorded, and often undergo word-for-word transcription.
During the round-table meeting between the members, this happened to be the case when the associate director was set to the task of welcoming Clayton.
What made the transcript interesting was the open-mindedness Clayton demonstrated when addressing the subject of cryptocurrency. The suck-up nature of Werner to his superior provided some interesting color to it as well, as the Associate Director flowered Clayton with opulent praise, but it was a saccharine amount for any reader to tolerate.
Contrasting Werner's saccharine overtures to his superior, Clayton takes a more modest approach, insisting “we call him Jay.” However, “don’t be fooled by his informality,” the Associate Director swoons, “because, underneath that, lies incredible aptitude, intellect and dedication.”
After walking through the recitation of what can only be described as a shopping list worth of credentials that ‘Jay' boasted, “the Chairman has found time to delve into some cutting edge issues,” it's announced. While it acts as a second spoon of saccharine, the fact that this list constitutes all that Clayton has achieved in his first 14 months is spectacular.
For Cryptocurrency Fans: Who Better to Have in Your Corner Than Jay Clayton?
Clayton, according to his Associate Director / Cheerleader, Werner, takes the time to immerse himself in:
“things like distributed ledger technology, the dark web and initial coin offerings. In fact, the first time that I met the Chairman, I walked into a heated discussion he was having with an attorney in my office about the legitimacy and viability of cryptocurrencies. I was taken aback, honestly, about how much thought he had given to this space and the issues surrounding that.”
The initial belief that many in the cryptocurrency world made was that of joy, believing that Clayton was taking a wholly pro-cryptocurrency position in light of his comments within the transcript. The fervor with which Clayton comes out in defense of cryptos is certain to make any reader reach this conclusion.
But that's the word to lay emphasis on: Conclusion, throughout the transcript, there remains no conclusive evidence to back this belief up, and that while Clayton has come out in defense, his position remains mixed and skeptical. What may have, instead, stoked this defense were some of the middling comments made by the Associate Director, regarding the “legitimacy and viability of cryptocurrencies.”
The one true consolation is the fact that some of the most powerful institutions, in terms of financial regulation, are sitting down at round-tables, taking the time to make for a pragmatic analysis of the future of cryptocurrency. That, in itself, is a remarkable change from years prior.
While the debates do represent a demonstrable level of progress, it's important to remember that Clayton has, in several instances, regarded Initial Coin Offering, in the majority of cases as securities under the defining factors set out by the 1946 Howey Test, as a result, this would place them under direct SEC jurisdiction.
Meanwhile, SEC field offices have been relentless in prosecuting Bitcoiners due to conducting peer-to-peer transactions, which are effectively unregistered money exchanges. These factors have all but dried up the prospects of launching an ICO within the United States, forcing companies to look overseas in order to launch one.
All the while, the more established cryptos like Ripple's XRP and Ethereum have resolved to ‘Lawyer up' in order to battle against the SEC regulatory storm. This situation is while Bitcoin continues its fight uphill over the subject of applying for and establishing an ETF, which is causing the markets a significant level of anxiety.
The one rhetorical question on the minds of bitcoiners, in conclusion, ought to be: With friends like Clayton, who needs enemies?