SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce became a meme last year after dissenting on an agency decision to reject a new bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF). The industry immediately saw one of its own and bestowed an affectionate nickname: “Crypto Mom.” Peirce, a former lawyer, is seen as the most crypto-friendly of the SEC’s five commissioners—someone who will fight crypto’s battle for mainstream acceptance and champion its fundamentally anti-government ethos.
Last night, Peirce sat down with journalist Laura Shin for a “fireside chat” at NYU (although, of course, there was no fire). She talked about working with the grain of innovation, even if innovation occasionally hurts investors, and how she wants to bring the SEC kicking and screaming into the modern world. (The SEC was created in the mid-1930s and many of the statutes it enforces date from those times.) She shed light on the (very complicated) decision-making process within the SEC, defined what is and isn’t a security, and talked about how a regulator might oversee a decentralized entity where nobody is in control. Here are some takeaways.