Criticism in the US over the decision by SEC President Gensler to strengthen measures against the crypto market.
The SEC hates crypto
A few days ago, with a statement on its official website, the SEC announced the strengthening of its special unit for the monitoring of cryptocurrencies. The statement announced the deployment of 20 additional positions to the unit responsible for protecting investors in cryptocurrency markets and from cyber threats.
The new Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit will thus consist of 50 people in total, a number that some consider objectively exaggerated.
SEC Chairman Gary Gensler, stated that:
“The U.S. has the greatest capital markets because investors have faith in them, and as more investors access the crypto markets, it is increasingly important to dedicate more resources to protecting them.
The Division of Enforcement’s Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit has successfully brought dozens of cases against those seeking to take advantage of investors in crypto markets. By nearly doubling the size of this key unit, the SEC will be better equipped to police wrongdoing in the crypto markets while continuing to identify disclosure and controls issues with respect to cybersecurity”.
Since its creation in 2017 under President Bush, this enforcement unit has reportedly already carried out around 80 operations to protect savers against the risk of fraud through fraudulent or unregistered cryptocurrency platforms, with seizures totalling more than $2bn.
This decision has provoked some criticism within the SEC itself and among some US Congressmen, who have criticized this move by Chairman Gary Gensler, who has always had a very critical attitude towards the world of cryptocurrencies, which he believes should be regulated as soon as possible.
The SEC’s strategic moves
For instance, the Gensler-led commission continues in its decision not to give the go-ahead for the approval of a first spot Bitcoin ETF in the US, despite having received dozens of requests from industry players. One of these is Grayscale, which has threatened to take legal action if the SEC does not approve its new ETF soon.
The SEC’s decision on strengthening the cryptocurrency watchdog agency was also criticized by a commissioner of the same federal agency, Hester Pierce, who said in a tweet:
“The SEC is a regulatory agency with an enforcement division, not an enforcement agency”.
The SEC is a regulatory agency with an enforcement division, not an enforcement agency. Why are we leading with enforcement in crypto?
— Hester Peirce (@HesterPeirce) May 3, 2022
Congressman Patrick McHenry, a Republican congressman from North Carolina and a member of the Congressional Finance Committee, tweeted stating that the attitude from SEC Chairman Gary Gensler:
“Is stifling American innovation. If the U.S. wants to lead the deployment of the next generation of internet technology, we must provide clear, thoughtful rules of the road for the digital asset ecosystem”.
Another US congressional representative, Minnesota republican Tom Emmer controversially asked:
“How many taxpayer dollars are being wasted in Gary Gensler’s personal crusade against the crypto industry?”
In a tweet, he also reiterated the importance of financial freedom, which in his opinion would be endangered by the SEC’s behaviour towards the crypto market.
Financial freedom is American freedom.
— Tom Emmer (@RepTomEmmer) March 2, 2022