The United States could learn from China’s innovations in digital currency, says Securities and Exchange commissioner Hester Peirce. 

Fielding questions via webcam at this week’s Crypto Finance Conference in Switzerland, the public sector leader known as CryptoMom, called for the U.S. to: 

“Learn from what other countries are doing and take the best of what they’re doing and reject the worst of what they’re doing.” 

China outpacing U.S. on digital currency

Last fall, Mark Zuckerberg’s congressional testimony on Facebook’s Libra leaned heavily on the idea of U.S. innovation falling behind. Now, China’s central bank, which just printed a second-edition manual on digital currencies for Chinese officials, will soon launch a state-backed cryptocurrency that has public sector leaders like Peirce taking notice: 

“A lot of innovation is happening in China. I think that the government recognizing the potential is something we should learn from.”

Other issues before the SEC

The SEC is working on its “accredited investor” designation. The protection measure limits who enters the digital marketplace. Peirce said:

“If you’re an accredited investor you’re able to invest in certain things other people can’t invest in. So that has been a barrier in this space to some people getting involved in projects [...] for legal reasons people are restricting purchases to accredited investors. And so recently we put out a proposal to expand what an accredited investor is..”

Peirce also expressed interest in promoting “safe harbors,” a designation to protect taxpayers from penalties against forked assets, saying: 

“I’m hoping we can come up with some kind of a framework, a safe harbor framework that would allow people to get their token projects off the ground, to actually launch their networks.”

Later, Peirce added, “I think, again, we have lessons to learn.”