In the wake of major crypto firms Celsius and Voyager freezing assets and filing for bankruptcy, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler took to The Wall Street Journal’s op-ed pages to reiterate that securities laws still apply to new technologies like digital assets.
But some in the crypto industry have expressed frustration about the piece, calling for stronger guidelines not repetitions of familiar arguments.
Gensler compared car manufacturers to crypto lending platforms as a way to assert that consumers and investors alike deserve protection, whether it’s in a motor or investment vehicle. Even though cars have evolved over decades, the required safety features remain standard, he noted.
Gensler restated his goal to have existing securities laws — which aim to protect investors – apply to digital assets.
“I do agree with Chairman Gensler’s comments,” Michael Fasanello, chief compliance officer at LVL, told TechCrunch. “Noncompliance will — as we have seen with the SEC, [Office of Foreign Assets Control], and [The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network] — be met with aggressive enforcement. Just because the modality of finance changes doesn’t mean that regulatory compliance obligations suddenly disappear. Innovation is not a waiver of accountability.”
But until requirements are put in place for the crypto industry, platforms are left to innovate in the dark. Gensler’s op-ed failed to provide any new information, Katherine Dowling, general counsel and chief compliance officer at Bitwise Asset Management, said to TechCrunch.