In an interview on CNBC, Jay Clayton, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), again emphasized that he did not consider bitcoin a security, but suggested that a number of other federal agencies might be interested in regulating bitcoin.
Clayton stressed that bitcoin is more like a means of saving and a payment mechanism than a security and that „inefficiency“ in existing traditional payment mechanisms, both at home and abroad, contributes to Bitcoin growth. He also warned that as the popularity of Bitcoin grows, it can be regulated as a payment method.
„I think that in time it will be relevant and we will see new regulations in the payment industry,“ Clayton added.
The outgoing SEC chairman answered questions from Bitcoin Bank Squawk Box host Andrew Pocca Sorkin, who also recently interviewed James Diamon, CEO of JPMorgan. In that interview, Diamon said that bitcoin was „not his type“, attributing his skepticism to government regulation.
„My experience with government shows that they can regulate whatever they want, whenever they want,“ he said. – Bitcoin’s capitalisation equals $Z00 billion. If that figure increases, it will start to be regulated.
Ha a question from host Sorkin about why the SEC is not currently regulating bitcoin, Clayton answered:
„Let us say this: we do not regulate bitcoin as a security. When people use crypto assets as securities to raise capital for an enterprise, the SEC regulates this. But in the days of the ICO boom, people used ICOs and, in fact, organised public offers of securities without registering them with the SEC“.
Clayton explained that the SEC „determined that bitcoin is not a security; it is primarily a payment mechanism and a means of saving“ and added that „the government does regulate payments after all“.
Even if bitcoin is not regulated by the SEC, other government agencies, such as the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and FinCEN (Financial Crime Network), could potentially expand existing ways of regulating cryptographic currency, Clayton said.
Carlton Fields‘ lawyer and advisor to NYU Stern Drew Hanks commented that „FinCEN’s methodological guidelines treat bitcoin as ‚cash‘ or value in exchange for currency‘ and that in early lawsuits Bitcoin was interpreted as ‚money, cash or its equivalent‘.
According to him, in accordance with the U.S. IRS regulations, Bitcoin is regulated as federally taxed property and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CTFC) has stated that Bitcoin is traded.
To the extent that the SEC does not consider a bitcoin to be a security and therefore does not regulate it, it is not surprising that Clayton has rarely been so open about the true nature of Bitcoin.
Now it’s up to the rest of the agencies.