Gensler Confirmed As SEC Chair, Safe Harbor Updated

Key Takeaways

  • The U.S. Senate has passed a vote that will make Gary Gensler the next chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
  • Meanwhile, SEC Commissioner Hester M. Peirce has published an updated version of her “Safe Harbor” proposal.
  • Both developments could create a better regulatory environment for up-and-coming crypto projecs.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has seen two developments. Gary Gensler has been approved as the next SEC chair, while its Safe Harbor crypto plan has been updated.

Gensler Approved By Senate

On Apr. 14, the U.S. Senated passed a vote by a count of 53-45 that confirms Gary Gensler as the SEC’s next chair.

Gensler is currently a blockchain professor at MIT. Gensler has also served as chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and previously worked as a Goldman Sachs banker.

He succeeds former chairman Jay Clayton, who became infamous for his harsh stance toward crypto. Under Clayton, many new cryptocurrencies were considered securities, leading the SEC to create several regulatory lawsuits against ICOs.

Though that practice is unlikely to change, some believe Gensler could take a more nuanced stance toward crypto due to his blockchain knowledge. Furthermore, in March, Gensler stated that he would seek “regulatory clarity around cryptocurrencies.”

Cryptocurrencies will almost certainly still be considered securities under Gensler, but a change in leadership could plausibly lead to the approval of a Bitcoin ETF in the U.S. for the first time.

Peirce Updates Safe Harbor Plan

Meanwhile, SEC commissioner Hester M. Peirce has published an updated version of her Safe Harbor proposal, which aims to provide blockchain projects with greater flexibility.

“The safe harbor seeks to provide network developers with a three-year grace period within which … they can facilitate participation in and the development of a functional or decentralized network exempted from the registration provisions of the federal securities laws,” Peirce wrote in a post on Apr. 13.

Peirce noted that there are three new changes to the latest version of the proposal. In short, those changes include extra requirements around development plan disclosures and exit reports.

The Safe Harbor rule was first announced by Peirce during a speech at the International Blockchain Congress in February 2020.

Peirce also noted that Gensler’s arrival makes this an ideal time for the regulatory body to reconsider its rules and responsibly create accommodations for cryptocurrency.

Disclaimer: At the time of writing this author held less than $75 of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and altcoins.

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