The head of the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Gary Gensler, said he is weighing a robust regulatory regime for the crypto market.
- Gensler said in an interview with Bloomberg Tuesday that his interest in crypto does not mean he will take a hands-off regulatory approach for which many in the space were hoping.
- “While I’m neutral on the technology, even intrigued – I spent three years teaching it, leaning into it – I’m not neutral about investor protection,” Gensler said.
- He did not give a timeline on the introduction of SEC action on cryptocurrency, citing 49 non-crypto policy reviews – such as responding to the GameStop trading frenzy, that could slow down any progress on cryptocurrency.
- Nor did Gensler comment on the potential approval of a crypto exchange-traded fund, despite the long list of applications the regulator has received.
- Gensler has previously spoken of the need for the SEC to regulate crypto exchanges, and has now said this would be the easiest way to monitor digital token trading, which in turn could bring into play peer-to-peer lending on decentralized finance platforms.
- The SEC could then regulate such platforms if they are advertising an interest-rate return on a crypto asset. Alternatively, platforms that pool digital assets could be regarded as mutual funds, which would also bring them into the SEC’s purview.
- Gensler’s appointment as SEC chair was met with a positive reaction from large swathes of the crypto community given the consensus that he understands cryptocurrency in a way that few others in his field do, meaning his regime would bring greater regulatory certainty than has been experienced previously.