Chairman of the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Gary Gensler spoke about compliance and crypto regulation at Thursday’s SEC Speaks conference by the Practising Law Institute.
He stated that the core principles in the SEC’s statutes are applicable to all securities markets, which includes securities and intermediaries in crypto markets.
The vast majority of the almost 10,000 tokens on the crypto market are securities. Securities laws cover the sale and purchase of these thousands upon thousands of crypto security tokens.
Gensler acknowledged that not all crypto tokens meet the definition of security. Gensler stated that these tokens are likely to only represent a small percentage of the total crypto market value.
He indicated, for example, that bitcoin, which is the most valuable cryptocurrency in terms of market capitalization by market cap, is a commodities and falls under the jurisdiction of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
During his speech on Thursday, the chairman of SEC described bitcoin:
Bitcoin, the first cryptocurrency token, has been called “digital gold” by some. It trades like precious metals, and is a rare, digital, and speculative store of value.
Gensler noted that certain people within the crypto industry want more ‘guidance’ regarding crypto assets. Gensler stated that the Commission has’speak with a very clear voice here’ for five years through the DAO Report and the Munchee Order, as well as dozens of Enforcement actions all voted by the Commission.
The SEC boss stressed the importance of investor protection.
I have asked the SEC staff for assistance in working directly with entrepreneurs to register their tokens and regulate them as securities.
He pointed out that only a few crypto security tokens had been registered under the current regime. He acknowledged, however, that crypto investments are complex and it may be appropriate for existing disclosure requirements to be applied with some flexibility.
Gensler explained that crypto intermediaries are being investigated. He said: “I have asked staff to work closely with intermediaries to ensure each of their functions – exchange, broker-dealer and custodial functions – are registered.
He concluded that he looked forward to working alongside crypto projects and intermediaries who are trying to comply with the laws. I look forward to working alongside Congress on various legislative initiatives, while keeping the strong authorities we have currently.
I have asked staff to use our regulatory toolkit in order to fine-tune compliance with crypto security tokens, intermediaries, and other entities.
The SEC announced Friday its plans to create a designated office to examine filings related crypto assets.