Apr 28, 2023

SEC Chair: Crypto Platforms Violating Securities Laws

The chairman of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Gary Gensler, has made a bold statement about the state of the crypto industry. In an April 27 tweet, Gensler shared a video of himself claiming that many crypto platforms are operating in violation of securities laws.

Gensler’s video, which lasted for 4 minutes, discussed the concept of ‘investment contracts’ and how they are defined under the law. According to Gensler, an investment contract is formed when someone invests money in a common enterprise with the expectation of profits derived from the efforts of others. He then stated that intermediaries of such contracts are required to register with the SEC in order to protect American investors.

Gensler then went on to criticize many crypto firms and platforms who are not registered with the SEC, and accused them of attempting to circumvent securities laws.

The SEC has been at the forefront of the U.S. crypto crackdown, with Gensler continually asserting that essentially all crypto assets — apart from Bitcoin (BTC) — fall under the classification of securities.

However, some have pointed out that prior to taking the helm at the SEC, Gensler had a completely contradictory view of the crypto market. In a 2018 lecture at MIT, Gensler classified crypto assets as “non-securities” and lumped them in the same category as cash and commodities.

The SEC chair’s comments have been met with criticism from members of Congress during an April 18 hearing. During the hearing, Gensler refused to confirm whether he thought Ether (ETH) was a security or not.

The SEC’s approach to crypto regulation has been labelled as ‘regulation by enforcement’, as the lack of regulatory clarity has left many crypto firms and platforms in a state of uncertainty. It remains to be seen how the SEC will move forward in regulating the crypto industry, and whether Gensler’s comments will have any impact on the future of crypto.

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