Gary Gensler, President Joe Biden's nominee to spearhead the Securities and Exchange Commission, has told the Senate Banking Committee that he would promote cryptocurrency innovation during his March 2 confirmation hearing when asked cryptocurrency regulations. He described Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as "a catalyst for change."
I think, as I teach at MIT on these subjects, that these innovations have been a catalyst for change. Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies have brought new thinking to payments and financial inclusion but they've also raised new issues of investor protection...If confirmed at the SEC, I will work to promote innovation.
At the same time, he stresses that it was important to update the SEC's market oversight to new technologies:
It’s always important to update our market oversight to new technologies...It’s important to stay true to our principles of investor protection.
Gensler also mentioned the importance of providing regulatory clarity even if it's "thumbs-down" when asked about non-action letters by Wyoming's Cynthia Lummis.
I do think that technology and markets constantly change and evolve. Even if it’s thumbs-down, it’s important to provide it [clarity].
Unsurprisingly, the nominee displayed a deep knowledge of the blockchain technology:
I think it’s already doing some of this right. Central banks are really looking at how to provide more inclusive payment tokens. Blockchain technology is a shared accounting system, and that led to some thoughts about how to do trade finance. I am neither maximalism nor a maximalist, but I really think it’s gonna be a catalyst for change.
Crypto-friendly Gensler is widely expected to finally approve a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund while also presiding over the SEC's lawsuit against Ripple.
This is a developing story. Stay tuned for updates.