The New York Times kicked off its inaugural TimesTalksDealBook event last week with a discussion about blockchain and cryptocurrencies. The event featured an interview with host Andrew Ross Sorkin and guest Jay Clayton, Chairman of the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
Presenter Wynn Davies, North America managing director at Accenture, started the discussion by stating that cryptocurrencies will be here for the future and that they should not be ignored, calling blockchain one of the most important technological innovations in business.
Introduced as a blockchain expert, SEC Chairman Clayton issued a disclaimer that his thoughts and opinions are strictly his own and do not necessarily represent the opinions of the SEC.
To give some perspective on how far cryptocurrencies and blockchain have come in terms of their impact on today’s narrative about the future of finance, Clayton noted that last March, during his confirmation hearing, the new tech was completely overlooked.
“If you search the hearing transcript and all of the questions, you won’t find blockchain, distributed ledger technology, Bitcoin, Ethereum – not a single question in March of 2017.”
Clayton says the SEC has sound rules that have withstood the test of time and that they should not be changed to adapt to technology – just because it’s new on the scene.
“Technology ought to be able to fit into our rules. And I think this technology has incredible promise for adding efficiency to our marketplace, but I’m not going to change the investor-protection aspects of those offering rules or those trading rules just because there’s a new technology.”
“It’s widely distributed. It was not controlled by a single entity or other people. It’s used as a medium of exchange. You’re not looking to the efforts of others to increase your return. So it looks much more like a currency than a security.”
Speaking at Consensus in New York on November 28, Clayton explained that Bitcoin is similar to the dollar, the yen and the euro.
These comments apply to Bitcoin as it was originally designed not to what BTC has been turned into. Sooner or later the SEC will understand the distinction. BTC has tried really hard to become BitGold. They might just get their wish.
— Lionel Orellana (@lionelve) November 27, 2018