SEC chair issues warning to unregulated crypto exchanges

US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chair Gary Gensler has issued a warning to crypto industry leaders who are yet to register with the regulator.

It follows a similar announcement in January saying that crypto exchanges would be a focus for a SEC crackdown on digital assets in 2022.

“The crypto exchanges should come in and register, or, frankly, we’re going to continue to bring/use what Congress has given us in our enforcement and examination functions”, Gensler said, testifying before a congressional subcommittee on Wednesday, May 19.

The warning was issued after congressman Steve Womack (R-AR) expressed his views on the SEC’s failure to create a separate and explicit regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies alone.

“Before an official can throw a flag – do an enforcement action – you gotta know the rules”, Womack said.

So far, 80 enforcement actions have been launched by the SEC surrounding crypto-assets and their platforms.

However, to date, the organisation has not been clear on which crypto assets it classifies as securities and which ones are seen as commodities. Bitcoin, however, was confirmed as a “commodity token” by Gensler in the congressional session on Wednesday.

Many crypto firms that were previously fined by the SEC after attempting to follow poorly articulated laws have voiced their anger and frustration over facing legal repercussions.

Following the crash of Terra, (one that caused three of the company’s attorneys to resign) Gensler announced that additional resources will be put in place to protect crypto investors and consumers from such risks.

“There was one crypto complex that went from like $50 billion to near-zero just within the last three weeks. These are highly speculative, volatile, and – I would daresay often – the public is not protected”, he said.

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Updated: 05/19/2022 — 19:00