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SEC Chair Gensler Takes a Stand: Crypto Faces 'Wide-Ranging Non-Compliance'

Jack Evans
Sep 12, 2023 at 02:57 pm

In the rapidly evolving world of cryptocurrencies, SEC Chair Gary Gensler continues to raise his voice, unswayed by recent legal setbacks that have challenged the regulatory authority of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). In a compelling written testimony submitted prior to a crucial hearing before the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, Gensler once again solidified his unwavering stance against the crypto industry.

Gensler's assertion is crystal clear: "most crypto tokens are subject to the securities laws," and consequently, "most crypto intermediaries must adhere to securities laws as well." He passionately argues that the crypto asset securities markets offer no justification for investors and issuers to be exempt from the protections provided by securities laws.

Further underscoring his position, Gensler points out that the industry is grappling with a significant issue – "wide-ranging non-compliance with the securities laws." His conviction stems from the belief that, since Congress refrained from limiting securities laws to stocks and bonds, most crypto tokens likely fall under the purview of the investment contract test.

As we move deeper into 2023, the SEC faces a tumultuous journey in its quest to regulate the crypto landscape. The regulatory body encountered significant hurdles earlier in the year when a U.S. judge ruled that Ripple Labs Inc. had not violated federal securities laws, contrary to the SEC's assertions. This marked a pivotal moment, signaling the first time the SEC stumbled in its mission to oversee the crypto market.

Adding to the drama, just a few months later in August 2023, Grayscale secured a resounding legal victory against the SEC concerning U.S. Bitcoin spot exchange-traded fund (ETF) applications. The ruling by a panel of federal judges effectively invalidated the SEC's prior decision, paving the way for a BTC ETF to move forward.

As the crypto industry continues to evolve, the regulatory landscape remains fraught with challenges and uncertainties. SEC Chair Gensler's unwavering commitment to enforcing securities laws in the crypto sector serves as a reminder that the battle for compliance and regulation in this space is far from over.

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