In an interview with CNBC’s Squawk Box, the new chairman, who was sworn in last month, discusses what he thinks the SEC’s role will be in regulating the crypto markets.
Gensler reveals that he views many crypto assets currently on the market as securities and that he believes the SEC is licensed to make that decision.
“I think as long as something is a security, the SEC has a lot of authority and a lot of crypto tokens are indeed securities. The previous president indicated that [and] the previous SEC brought numerous enforcement actions to bring some of these security or investment contract tokens into the rules. “
Although Gensler believes the categorization of many crypto assets needs to be flattened, the SEC chairman says most urgently, investors trading Bitcoin, an asset the SEC has already determined is not a security, should be protected.
” There are some [assets] like Bitcoin, if I could focus on that, and that’s about half of that $ 2 trillion asset class right now. It is a rare, but very volatile, digital store of value and there are investors who want to trade that and trade that for its volatility.
I think we need better investor protection there. And we don’t have a federal regime overseeing cryptocurrency exchanges, so if an investor wants to trade Bitcoin, be aware that it’s very volatile, highly speculative … If they want to trade on that, we [need to] put some investor protection in place and that’s what I think is a gap in our system right now.
Gensler explains that through a joint effort by the SEC and Congress, the government might be able to find a way to protect those who trade the volatile asset.
“I think in regards to Bitcoin and I’m not talking about all the other tokens at this time, but in regards to Bitcoin, while our sister agency, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), has limited the fight Anti-fraud and anti-manipulation authority, there is no federal authority to bring regime to crypto exchanges.
From stock exchanges to futures markets, regimes were put in place in the 1930s to help protect against fraud and manipulation on exchanges and to protect their integrity. I think this is something that we will work with Congress, if they see fit, to try to provide some protection for people who want to invest in this speculative asset class.
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Image en vedette: Shutterstock / QinJin