Hester M. Peirce

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Hester M. Peirce
Hester Peirce official photo.jpg
Occupation Commissioner
Employer Securities and Exchange Commission
Location Washington, DC
Personal Twitter @HesterPeirce
Website Hester Peirce Homepage

Hester M. Peirce is a member of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). She is a well-known proponent of cryptocurrency.

Cryptocurrency icon

Commissioner Hester M. Peirce quickly made a name for herself as an advocate for innovation in her first year at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (Commission) when she formally dissented from a disapproval of the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust ETF proposed by Cboe for listing on its Bats exchange. In her dissent, Peirce noted that the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 limits the commission to evaluating the applicant's ability to supervise its own market, not the underlying spot markets as the commission did in that case. Peirce also stated that the commission's disapproval acted as a barrier to further institutionalization of the bitcoin market and was anti-innovation.[1]

The day after the Commission's Division of Trading and Markets disapproved nine bitcoin futures-based ETFs, Peirce announced on her Twitter feed that the disapproval would be reviewed by the full Commission.[2]

At Consensus 2019 in New York city, Peirce discussed the topic of cryptocurrency ETFs. According to the commissioner, the SEC should do more to provide regulatory clarity for running a cryptocurrency business in compliance with current securities laws.[3]

"Crypto Mom"

Peirce was given the moniker "Crypto Mom" by the online cryptocurrency community after dissenting from the SEC's decision to reject the bitcoin ETF championed by Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss. It was likely intended as a lighthearted term of endearment by the community, but Peirce has not gone on record to express her feelings on the name.[4]

Safe harbor proposal

In remarks at the Fourth International Blockchain Congress in Chicago on February 6, 2020, Peirce introduced a proposal that, if adopted by the SEC, would streamline the process of initial coin offerings, providing issuers a way to raise money for development of utility tokens without first having to register them as securities. The proposal was informal in the sense that it was not offered as part of SEC rulemaking. The commissioner said that she was seeking feedback from the industry on the proposal before deciding on next, if any, steps.[5]

Background

A Republican, Peirce was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on December 22, 2017 and sworn in to office on January 11, 2018.[6][7] She was re-nominated for a full five-year term by President Donald Trump in June 2020, shortly before her first term was due to expire.[8] After a July 21 nomination hearing before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, Peirce's second term was approved by the Senate in a voice vote on August 6, 2020.[9][10] Peirce was sworn into her second term on August 17.[11]

Before joining the commission, Peirce was a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, where her research focused on financial markets regulation. Prior to that Peirce worked for the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.[12]

Peirce is a prominent critic of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, writing, “Giving regulators more levers to pull and buttons to push with respect to the financial system only creates a false sense of security,” in a 2013 treatise on the law.[13]

Education

Peirce holds a B.A. from Case Western Reserve and a J.D from Yale.[14]

References