Digital Assets: Jay Clayton – SEC Hastens Slowly on Digital Assets

December 12, 2019 | Digital Assets, Regulations
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Jay Clayton said in testimony to the Senate that the SEC was taking a measured approach to regulation of digital assets.

Jay Clayton was very positive on the prospects of distributed ledger technology, or the blockchain, in his testimony to the Senate. He also stated that the SEC was a “measured approach” to regulation of digital assets.

“As I have previously stated, I am optimistic that developments in distributed ledger technology can help facilitate capital formation, providing promising investment opportunities for both institutional and Main Street investors,” he said.

Remember, however, that his support for DLT is not unqualified. In March this year he wrote: “Regardless of the promise of distributed ledger technology, those who invest their hard-earned money in opportunities that fall within the scope of the federal securities laws deserve the full protections afforded under those laws.”

Actions to protect investors

In his testimony Clayton mentioned the actions taken by the SEC against bad actors and violators of the law. These included fraud, violation of provisions of securities laws and illegal ICOs. He also highlighted the unlawful operation of a digital asset trading platform. (This is perhaps about EtherDelta)

“With its expertise, Enforcement’s Cyber Unit continues to focus on, among other things, potential violations involving distributed ledger technology, cyber intrusions and hacking to obtain material, non-public information,” he said.

Clayton also drew attention to an emergency action by the SEC to block a public digital token offering that was unregistered but raised $1.7 billion from investors. Presumably, this was a veiled reference to Telegram.

SEC’s approach to digital assets

Overall, Clayton said the SEC had “taken  a measured, yet proactive regulatory approach that both fosters innovation and capital formation while protecting our investors and our markets.”

[Related Story: Digital Assets: The SEC Thaws; Approves Bitcoin Futures Fund ]

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