Commissioners Peirce and Uyeda criticize SEC’s approach to crypto after ShapeShift case


  • SEC Commissioners Peirce and Uyeda criticized the agency’s enforcement action against ShapeShift, citing lack of clarity on crypto regulations.
  • They highlighted the SEC’s failure to specify which crypto assets were considered securities in the ShapeShift case, adding to industry ambiguity.
  • The commissioners called for more transparent and specific regulatory guidelines to support compliance and innovation in the crypto sector.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently initiated an enforcement action against the cryptocurrency firm ShapeShift, accusing it of operating as an unregistered securities dealer. This move is part of the SEC’s application of the Howey Test, a method derived from a 1946 Supreme Court case used to determine whether an asset qualifies as a security. However, this enforcement has led to internal criticism from SEC Commissioners Hester Peirce and Mark Uyeda, who argue that the action adds to the existing regulatory ambiguity in the cryptocurrency industry.

Lack of clarity in SEC’s crypto policy criticized

Peirce and Uyeda, both Republican commissioners, expressed their concerns regarding the SEC’s approach, labeling it as a continuation of the commission’s “poorly conceived crypto policy.” Their main critique centers on the SEC’s failure to specify which of the 79 crypto assets involved in the ShapeShift case were considered investment contracts or to provide a rationale for their classification. This, they argue, underscores the confusion and uncertainty facing crypto firms under current regulatory practices.

The commissioners also criticized the SEC’s broader enforcement strategy within the crypto sector, particularly its “just come in and register” approach, which they find unsatisfactory. They highlighted the opacity and arbitrariness of current standards, calling for the commission to offer more transparent and specific guidance on how crypto assets are classified as securities.

This internal discord within the SEC comes against the backdrop of an ongoing debate on the need for clear, consistent regulatory frameworks for the cryptocurrency industry, as exemplified by previous actions against major crypto exchanges such as Binance and Coinbase. The controversy reflects deeper issues regarding the regulatory clarity and direction needed to foster compliance and innovation in the crypto industry.

Disclaimer. The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions.

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Damilola Lawrence

Damilola is a crypto enthusiast, content writer, and journalist. When he is not writing, he spends most of his time reading and keeping tabs on exciting projects in the blockchain space. He also studies the ramifications of Web3 and blockchain development to have a stake in the future economy.

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