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SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce endorses Congress for crypto oversight; CZ steps down from Binance 

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In a recent statement, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Commissioner Hester Peirce said that Congress is best positioned to determine the regulatory framework for the cryptocurrency industry. 

Hester contends that Congress, as representatives of the American people, holds a unique and efficient stance in making decisions that directly impact the nation.

She expressed her confidence in Congress’s ability to make informed decisions, citing their direct accountability to the American people. “Congress is the right body to be making these kinds of decisions,” she said. “It’s ultimately they who are directly accountable to the American people.”

The Commissioner further highlighted the collaborative efforts between the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), emphasizing the potential for cooperation in the complex landscape of cryptocurrency regulation.

“While we can work together with the CFTC, Congress remains at the forefront of decision-making. I think we can do it in this area as well,” Hester said, acknowledging the multifaceted nature of crypto’s impact on various aspects of daily life. 

She recognized the challenges faced by Congress in navigating the intricate web of cryptocurrency legislation, given its far-reaching implications beyond just financial realms.

Ultimately, it’s up to Congress to decide which pieces need to go where, and doing that is not easy because crypto is not just financial; it could have a lot of implications for different areas of our lives as well,” she commented.

Binance CZ to step down

The interview followed a report that Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao is stepping down as part of a settlement with the US Department of Justice (DOJ), pleading guilty to violating anti-money laundering rules.  

The resolution includes a penalty exceeding $4 billion, and the company continues operations in the US under heightened oversight. Additionally, CZ announced Richard Teng, presently overseeing regional markets at Binance, as the new CEO. 

This progression follows a comprehensive, multi-year inquiry into the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, with the SEC among the leading organizations spearheading the investigation.

The DOJ’s filing states that Binance “knowingly and willfully” supplied services to Iran, in breach of US sanctions. These actions mark a significant shift in the leadership of Binance and its operations in the US.

OpenAI CEO ousted

Interestingly, the crypto report coincided with turbulence in the AI domain triggered by the dismissal of OpenAI CEO Sam Altman. Altman was removed from his role by the board of directors on Friday, November 17, 2023, citing a lack of confidence in his leadership abilities. 

After his exit, a significant number of OpenAI employees endorsed a letter threatening to quit unless the board stepped down and Altman was reinstated as CEO.

In the interim, Chief Technology Officer Mira Murati, has been appointed as the acting CEO while the board searches for a permanent successor. The situation at OpenAI is uncertain, with ongoing negotiations that could see Altman return as CEO.

Read also; Celsius to transition into a Bitcoin mining NewCo following SEC feedback

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