Gensler rejects crypto complaints, warns of upcoming heat.
The Chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Gary Gensler, stated on Thursday that there is nothing unique about the assets or exchanges in the cryptocurrency sector. He argued that their supporters cannot hide behind claims that their tokens provide utility. Gensler’s remarks were made at the Piper Sandler Global Exchange & FinTech Conference, where he defended his agency’s recent enforcement actions against blockchain (COIN) and Binance. Both blockchain and Binance, respectively the largest crypto exchanges in the U.S. and the world, were accused of trading in unregistered securities. Gensler argued that some promoters of crypto asset securities contend that their token has a function beyond being an investment vehicle, but he countered that some additional utility does not remove a crypto asset security from the definition of an investment contract. He added that tokens built for exclusive use in their blockchain ecosystems can be exempted from such accusations. Gensler also pushed back on the industry’s claims that it’s impossible for crypto platforms to register with the SEC, stating that he disagrees with the notion and that recent history disproves it. He added that it takes work, and it can’t be done just by seeking a bunch of meetings with the SEC during which you’re unwilling to make the changes needed to comply with securities laws. Gensler emphasized that the investing public generally buys these crypto assets, at least in part, anticipating profit based on the efforts of those token issuers.
During the same conference, blockchain CEO Brian Armstrong was also scheduled to speak on Thursday.