The week started with the much-awaited Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) first Fintech Forum, held on 31 June in Washington DC.

Issues on the agenda were expected to be related to cryptocurrency assets and DLT with key SEC officials being joined by various legal, financial and technical experts, but what surprised experts was the degree of knowledge SEC representatives already had on a range of crypto-related topics.

Cynics have always labeled the SEC with a lack of understanding on all things crypto, therefore, maintaining a wait n see stance, particularly on matters relating to Bitcoin ETFs. The SEC’s chops were reportedly highly visible at the meeting. Joshua Ashley Klayman, managing member of Klayman LLC, a boutique law firm was, like others, surprised at the SECs acquired crypto knowledge:

“Clearly they have been listening to what those in the community – and their counsel – have been saying to them and they’ve put a lot of effort into understanding this space… It was a much higher-level discussion than the basics of blockchain.”

On the SEC side, Valerie Szczepanik, the SEC’s senior advisor for digital assets through in Ethereum smart-contract programming language when explaining a point about the need for more dialogue between the agency and developers and explained that both the SEC and developers needed “to translate between each other”. She added that both sides need to fill the educational gap when it came to understanding bot regulation and development, pointing out:

“We also learned that the federal securities laws are just as complex to computer scientists as coding smart contracts in Solidity are to regulators.”

Another attendee at the forum went away with a somewhat renewed perceptions of the SEC, Attorney Stephen Rutenberg, a shareholder at Polsinelli and a member of the firm’s Fintech and Regulation Practice, agreed that the SEC’s understanding of DLTs was “beyond what most people think”.


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