On Tuesday, the chair of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) called on Congress to provide it with more authority to improve police crypto economic trading, lending and platforms. Gary Gensler said there are many tokens in the crypto market which could be non-registered stock, leaving prices open for manipulation and putting millions of investors at risk.
“This asset class is rife with fraud, scams and abuse in certain applications,” Gensler told a global conference. “We need additional congressional authorities to prevent transactions, products and platforms from falling between regulatory cracks.”
As more investors have stored their portfolios with digital tokens, Cryptocurrencies achieved a record capitalization of $2 billion in April, but market oversight is patchy. The industry is waiting breathlessly to see how Gensler, a Democratic appointee who ruled the SEC in April, is approaching market surveillance, which he said would fall within traditional financial regulation. Gensler gave more insight into his thinking on Tuesday and said that he wished that Congress would empower the SEC to supervise cryptocurrency exchanges that are currently outside the remit of the SEC.
It also asked legislators to provide the SEC with greater power to monitor cryptofinancing and platforms such as DeFi sites, which enable loans and lenders to transact without traditional banks in cryptocurrencies.
“If we don’t address these issues, I worry a lot of people will be hurt,” Gensler said.
Democratic senator Elizabeth Warren called upon regulators to take hold of the market and described it as “highly opaque and volatile,” in a July letter to Gensler. Gensler reacted by requesting that Congress consider giving him greater autonomy to regulate the sector. On Tuesday, he also underscored that “stock tokens, a stable value token backed by securities, or any other virtual product that provides a synthetic exposure to underlying securities … are subject to the securities laws.”
The Washington-based Blockchain Association is managed by Kristin Smith, who says that although the crypto industry is eager to help find ‘workable solutions’ to the problems of the SEC, they are now supervised by government authorities and other federal regulatory bodies.
“The industry shares many of Chair Gensler’s goals, including smart, appropriate regulation of the crypto industry, encouraging legal certainty, robust market integrity, and investor/customer protection,” Smith said in a statement. “Where we differ with Chair Gensler is his characterization of the growing crypto economy as the ‘Wild West,’ Smith said. “The crypto industry is far from unregulated.”