Republican SEC Commissioner Appointed, Chances for Bitcoin ETF Improve
As the nominations for the Securities and Exchanges Commission draw to a close, the second Republican nominee has since been appointed as the SEC's new commissioner after a subsequent approval by the Senate during a confirmation hearing this Wednesday.
The now successful Commissioner, Elad Roisman, will now join the collection of four commissioners who respectively took the time to welcome him in a statement made yesterday.
In the statement, they say:
“Congratulations to Elad on his successful Senate confirmation. We look forward to welcoming him back to the Commission to join us and our over 4,500 dedicated colleagues. We are confident Elad will make a substantial contribution to our mission on behalf of American investors.”
It's been the first time in nearly three years that the commission will have a full house of four members, at least for a time, this is due to the fact that Kara M. Stein will be stepping down as of December this year. This would bring the overall number back down to four, and may result in a number of future stalemates until a further commissioner can be nominated.
The other republican commissioner, Hester M. Peirce has long since been a champion when it comes to the topic of cryptocurrencies, in the past, she has gone on record accusing the SEC of operating as gatekeepers of innovation this July. For those that aren't otherwise familiar, this was because the SEC rejected a Bitcoin ETF. The end result of that vote came as 3 to 1 against.
Apparently, bitcoin is not ripe enough, respectable enough, or regulated enough to be worthy of our markets. I dissent: https://t.co/gH5zXaKtmj
— Hester Peirce (@HesterPeirce) July 26, 2018
Using a dead language to look at a live issue: fiduciary vs. best interest: https://t.co/zuQu1RQHC9
— Hester Peirce (@HesterPeirce) July 31, 2018
In English: the Commission (Chairman and Commissioners) delegates some tasks to its staff. When the staff acts in such cases, it acts on behalf of the Commission. The Commission may review the staff's action, as will now happen here.
— Hester Peirce (@HesterPeirce) August 23, 2018
But with the admission of another Republican onto the Commission comes to the interesting question: Would that vote soon become 2 to 2, or even 3 to 1 in favor?
Sec vote on the first application for a bitcoin ETF this July 2018.
Roisman said at a recent Senate hearing:
“There’s a perception that the markets are rigged against the little guy and I think it’s important for the SEC to try to dispel that notion.”
This perspective is based off some century-old legislation that was rigged against the ‘little guy', in this case, the up and coming entrepreneurs that we are seeing a lot more of today, preventing them from taking part in an environment of very lucrative, yet risky investment opportunities.
Roisman's own perception of it suggests that he is of the opinion that something needs to be done in order to redress this issue, and considering where he is right now, the SEC can do a whole lot to answer that metaphorical call. With his statement, it further suggests that he may, in fact, have the same views as Peirce.
If that's the direction he does take, the future decisions by the SEC will become incredibly interesting, and with far more stalemates or successes for the likes of cryptocurrencies. Clayton, for example, a very affluent individual, with previous experience as a lawyer working on behalf of elite banks and bankers, is a political independent, with no affiliations. But with that in mind, what reason apart from objectivity would Trump have in nominating him?
Really, it's because Clayton has appeared, at times, to be more of a Democrat-leaning individual when it comes to some topics. However, it may very well be the case that he only cares to have favorable policies and stances on behalf of the banks, and very little else.
The commissioner, Robert J. Jackson would most likely continue to vote in defiance of a Bitcoin ETF of any kind, something that may mean that we now have a far more divided SEC that will spend more time at an impasse when Congress is continually needling them to get things done. This is a viewpoint that is very much reflective of the publics wishes too, regarding all sorts of new innovations within and outside of this space.
This also means that there is a chess game underway here, and it's a little challenging to see because Trump may well not nominate an additional Democrat to take over from Stein after she steps down, but he has made a blunder in appointing Clayton, meaning that such a lack of further appointment would only limit the amount of damage that the SEC can do, instead of pushing through Trumps electoral promise to stop choking businesses.
And while the public may not agree with Trump on a number of approaches, you don't have to look too far to see that, in fact, businesses are choking. The prevalence of Start-ups are actually going down, and at their lowest in years, and Initial Price Offerings (IPOs) are declining. Alongside all of this, years of bureaucratic red tape implemented by the previous Democratic administration means that agencies like the SEC find themselves continually contradicted, and painfully out of step with a new generation of companies reflective of a digital age.
One of the smart moves, however, would be to appoint a Democrat nominee who is more anti-establishment and, as a result, would be more open to conducting reforms. This may be true considering many of the SEC related issues are actually highly bipartisan in nature from a political standpoint, such as adapting and reforming now 100 year old laws to reflect the current age, while also removing or curtailing investment prohibitions.
It's very possible, under these circumstances, that the votes would end 3 to 2 in favor of these reforms, additionally, Congress itself would hopefully look at some of these discriminatory laws in a closer manner, which most likely has very little public support in their current state.
The appointment of Roisman does represent an interesting choice by the current administration, but it's not exactly a major reason for people to get their hopes up. It could very well still be the case that he surprises us, that's because, at the very least, there will be increased amounts of pushbacks, and maybe even some wins as the SEC comes face to face with a new generation of investors with 21st century demands, forcing it to jettison some of its 20th century cargo.
Another Trump nominee has been appointed to the SEC, it is now back to full strength with 5 members (until one leaves in Dec). Elad Roisman is said to be in favour of Bitcoin ETFhttps://t.co/jncQU6l0pP
Does this breaks a 2-2 deadlock at the SEC, with 3 to 1 now in favour?
— Alistair Milne (@alistairmilne) September 6, 2018