Gary Gensler, the chairman of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), called for more robust regulatory oversight of the cryptocurrency market, during his speech at the Aspen Security Forum on Tuesday (3).
Gensler began his talk by saying that his experience teaching cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology at MIT made him recognize the innovation that Satoshi Nakamoto has brought to the world with Bitcoin and how technology can be a catalyst for change in finance and money .
Precisely because of his background, Gensler’s appointment to the SEC leadership was welcomed by the crypto community. Gensler’s approach to the sector, however, did not prevent the regulator from criticizing the problems that exist in the market, which, in his view, remains a kind of “Old West” that does not offer enough protection for investors.
He points out that cryptocurrencies are being used more as a speculative investment than a medium of exchange, and that when it is used in this way, it is usually to circumvent the law.
In his speech, he pointed out that many of the tokens offered on the market are unregistered securities that are outside the supervision of regulators and that do not respect the basic standards of transparency with investors.
In that regard, he said he agrees with former SEC Chairman Jay Clayton’s assertion that all ICOs (initial currency offerings) are securities offerings that leave investors vulnerable and prices open to manipulation.
Gensler also said that both centralized and decentralized mid-DeFi exchanges, which facilitate trading in unregistered securities, also fall under the SEC’s jurisdiction. “The probability is quite remote that among the 50 or 100 tokens (that the platforms offer), there will be zero titles”, pointed out the regulator.
Stablecoins and Bitcoin ETF
The SEC president also said that it is no wonder that regulators around the world are keeping an eye on the risks that private stablecoins, such as Facebook’s Diem, can pose to financial stability. According to Gensler, stablecoins make it easier for those looking to circumvent anti-money laundering laws, sanctions and tax compliance.
But not all his speech was limited to criticism. Gensler signaled that the SEC may be willing to approve one of several bitcoin ETF proposals awaiting approval, saying it is “looking forward to the staff review of such registries, especially if those are limited to CME-traded bitcoin futures.”
Finally, he advised lawmakers to focus on regulating cryptocurrency trading and lending platforms, as well as the DeFi medium.