US Securities and Exchange Commission Will Work on More Cryptocurrency Regulation in 2022: Gary Gensler

Updated:

US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman, Gary Gensler, recently stated that financial authorities need to directly regulate cryptocurrency trading avenues. Gensler also indicated that more regulatory frameworks would be put in place this year, boosting optimism over investor protection in the crypto space.

Before now, the SEC boss has hammered on the necessity of better investor rules in the crypto space. In 2021, he expressed his love for the industry, considering his cryptocurrency academic background, but asserted that this affection would not stop him from calling for better regulations in the market. Gensler stated at the time that:

“I’m not neutral about investor protection. If somebody wants to speculate, that’s their choice, but we have a role as a nation to protect those investors against fraud.”

At a recent virtual press conference, Gensler reaffirmed his stance, noting that cryptocurrency exchanges should come under more scrutiny from the SEC and other financial regulatory authorities in 2022. He believes that increased regulatory scrutiny should provide the necessary protection for investors in the crypto space. The SEC chair added:

“I’ve asked staff to look at every way to get these platforms inside the investor protection remit. If the trading platforms don’t come into the regulated space, it’d be another year of the public being vulnerable.”

Notably, the Commission hired a new senior advisor in late 2021, whose main objective is to advise Chairman Gensler on crypto regulation matters. The new advisor, Corey Frayer, previously worked on “issues ranging from consumer and investor protection.”

US Securities and Exchange Commission has No Plans to Ban Crypto

In 2021, the digital asset industry recorded total bans across several countries, starting from China. After the Chinese crypto ban, several other nations followed in a similar pattern, with many others contemplating adopting this stance.

However, Gary Gensler assuaged fears of a similar action in the US last October after he assured that his agency or the US government do not have plans to ban cryptos. The SEC chair noted that the agency was only after enhanced protection for investors in the industry.

 

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SEC Boss Gary Gensler Sheds Light on Crypto Regulation Plans by His Agency in 2022

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US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Gary Gensler made some utterances about cryptocurrency regulation and revealed his agency’s plans for 2022 at an interview with CNBC Monday.

The number one SEC man explained that: “If you are raising money from the public, and the public is in anticipation of profit based upon that promoter, sponsor, that group’s efforts — that’s within the securities laws, and it’s within the securities laws because Congress painted with a broad brush.” Gensler added that:

“They want to protect you — the investing public — so that you have proper information, or what’s called full and fair information, and protect you against fraud and scammers and the like.

The SEC chair argued that investments that classify themselves as tokens “are still probably, possibly a security.”

While the SEC boss acknowledged that the financial space continues to record new avenues to invest money, including crypto tokens and Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPACs), describing them as “exciting,” he emphasized that:

“Our role at the SEC is to ensure that the public still gets basic protection.”

The chairman further elaborated: “What is kind of old and really important is this basic idea that if you raise money from the public and the public is thinking about a profit, you have got to give them basic disclosures and everything.”

Meanwhile, when asked to talk about the growing use of cryptocurrency in crowdfunding programs, Gensler detailed that: “Crypto tokens, I will call them, are raising money from the public, and are they sharing with the public the same set of disclosures that helps the public decide and are they complying with our Truth in Advertising? Call it the Securities Act’s anti-fraud provisions.” He added that:

“Unfortunately, way too many of these are trying to say: ‘Well, we are not a security. We are just something else.’”

SEC Chair Gensler Refuses to Comment on Ethereum’s Status

That said, the host quizzed Gensler on whether his agency sees Ethereum as a security, pointing out that the Commission considers XRP a security-based in the ongoing lawsuit with Ripple Labs and its executives.

However, Gensler refrained from providing any clarification on the matter. The SEC boss noted: “I’m the chair of a five-member Commission that’s also a civil law enforcement agency. So, we don’t get involved in these types of public forums, talking about any one project, one possible circumstance, and give legal advice over the airwaves that way.”

 

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Gary Gensler Maintains Regulatory Stance on Crypto at Investor Advisory Committee Meeting

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US Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Gary Gensler expressed concerns for more investor protection in the cryptocurrency markets at an Investor Advisory Committee meeting last week.

The Investor Advisory Committee advises the SEC on regulatory necessities, including “initiatives to protect investor interests and to promote investor confidence and the integrity of the securities marketplace.”

The SEC Chair began his speech by acknowledging that “Satoshi Nakamoto’s ‘Bitcoin Whitepaper’ and the crypto markets that followed have been catalysts for change.” Sometime in August, Gensler praised Satoshi’s innovation, noting that it is legitimate and “it has been and could continue to be a catalyst for change in the fields of finance and money.”

Commenting on the total market capitalization of the crypto industry, the SEC executive told the Committee that: “This is an asset class that belongs inside public policy frameworks of looking after investors, guarding against illicit [activities], and protecting our financial stability.” Gensler added that:

“Unfortunately, this asset class is rife with fraud, scams, and abuse in certain applications … In many cases, investors aren’t able to get rigorous, balanced, and complete information on tokens or trading and lending platforms.”

The SEC Chair detailed that: “Right now, we just don’t have enough investor protection in crypto,” adding that “the American public is buying, selling, and lending crypto on trading, lending, and decentralized finance (DeFi) platforms, where there are significant gaps in investor protection.” Gensler argued that:

“This leaves markets open to manipulation. This leaves investors vulnerable. If we don’t address these issues, I worry a lot of people will be hurt.”

Gary Gensler on Tokens Being Securities

Responding to whether a token is classified as a security, he clarified that: “There’s actually a lot of clarity on that front. In the 1930s, Congress established the definition of a security, which included about 20 items, like stock, bonds, and notes.”

Gensler added that: “One of the items is an investment contract,” arguing that many tokens on the crypto market “may be unregistered securities, without required disclosures or market oversight.”

The SEC Chairman concluded his speech by noting that cryptocurrency companies and token issuers or custodians should “come in and talk to the staff at the SEC.”

 

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Ripple vs.SEC Lawsuit: XRP Holders Can Now Assist in Legal Hearings

Updated:

Ripple Labs has registered another snack win in its ongoing lawsuit with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) after US District Judge Analisa Torres granted the status of “amici curiae” to the XRP community in the lawsuit.

Prominent XRP advocate and lawyer to the blockchain startup John Deaton also received special status from the ruling. That said, Deaton and XRP holders can serve as “friends of the court,” enabling them to assist the court in legal briefings on the case.

Judge Torres noted in the order that this type of assistance would come in handy during dispositive motion briefings. However, the order detailed that the court retains its ability to request or deny further applications.

Another prominent lawyer involved in the case, James Filan, described the latest development as a “huge win” for the XRP community.

Notwithstanding the special status, XRP Holders’ motion to intervene in the case got denied. The court also clarified that to maintain the balance between Ripple investors and the parties, the community cannot present witnesses or effective evidence.

The latest court order comes following criticism of the judges for exhibiting bias towards the SEC. Also, the community felt cheated with the court’s decision-making prices as the Commission continued to file motions allowing it to withhold critical information.

Key Ripple Levels to Watch — October 6

Following a +8% bullish rally over the past 48 hours, XRP has slipped back below the $1.0500 support amid a lack of momentum for a bullish continuation above the critical $1.1000 psychological mark. That said, the sixth-largest cryptocurrency remains restricted in the upper-end of our ascending channel.

XRPUSD – 4-Hour Chart

Nonetheless, we expect any sustained bearish pullback to get restricted by the $1.0000 critical support. However, bears do not currently possess the strength to push the price to the $1 support instead, we expect to see a goodish recovery into the $1.1000 – $1.0500 pivot area in the coming hours.

Meanwhile, our resistance levels are $1.0500, $1.1000, and 1.1500, and our support levels are $1.0000, $0.9500, and $0.9275.

Total Market Capitalization: $2.22 trillion

Ripple Market Capitalization: $48.9 billion

Ripple Dominance: 2.2%

Market Rank: #6

 

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SEC vs. Ripple: New Discovery Could Finalize Verdict

Updated:

A new development in the ongoing Ripple vs. SEC Lawsuit has emerged and could lead to a final verdict in the case. The defendant’s first request for admission (No. 99) to the US Securities and Exchange Commission, attached to the recent court filing, revealed arguably the most critical information for the lawsuit.

The document revealed that the Commission never notified any third party that it deemed XRP a security until after the lawsuit surfaced. This information has now become an official admission in the case. The SEC’s response to Ripple’s Request for Admission No. 99 noted that:

“Subject to all of the foregoing objections, the Commission admits that before the filing of this case, certain third parties inquired about the legal status of XRP. However, the Commission did not state a view one way or the other in response.”

New SEC Admission Contradicts Hinman’s Deposition

The watchdog’s admission heavily contradicts Former SEC Director William Hinman’s deposition where he testified, under oath, to advising Ripple Labs to cease the sale of XRP as the Regulator considered it to be a security.

The former SEC executive was already in a tight spot with speculation on his corrupt actions regarding the 2018 speech. With the latest discovery, Hinman could lose more than the SEC with the final verdict.

A vital article surfaced recently, revealing information against Hinman over the controversial 2018 speech. The publication claimed that William Hinman’s comments on Ethereum during the 2018 speech were calculated and became one of the primary factors behind the second-largest cryptocurrency’s 600% spike to date.

In August, while the lawsuit saw the court grant Motion to Seal in both Slack and DPP issues, many onlookers got concerned over the censure of parts of Hinman’s deposition. Speculations ran amok, with some alleging that the sealed information contained evidence against Hinman for orchestrating the price surge. Some also alleged that the former SEC Director visited eminent Ethereum Foundation officials and private participants, convincing them to invest in ETH before the speech.

 

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Coinbase Faces Legal Action from SEC for Its Proposed Lending Program

Updated:

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has indicated that it could charge Coinbase with breaking security laws with its proposed yield program.

In a blog post released earlier today, Paul Grewal—the Chief Legal Officer at Coinbase—revealed that the agency sent a Wells notice to the exchange, which regulatory bodies send to prospective respondents notifying them of their intention to sue.

Coinbase noted that it would cooperate with the financial regulator for about six months over the upcoming launch of the Coinbase Lend program, which would offer fixed interest to users for lending specified crypto assets.

Lending programs are commonplace in the crypto space, with other large and small crypto companies offering them. Coinbase highlighted that: “Other crypto companies have had lending products on the market for years, and new lending products continue to launch as recently as last month.”

Although the SEC has not clamped down on any crypto company offering yield programs before now, other state regulators previously went after BlockFi for offering similar services.

Coinbase Omitted Its Waitlist Register While Answering SEC’s Investigation

Before now, Coinbase met with the SEC to discuss its framework for the yield program. The behemoth crypto exchange provided extensive details and addressed all inquiries about the program from the regulator. Grewal noted that: “The SEC told us they consider Lend to involve a security, but wouldn’t say why or how they’d reached that conclusion.”

However, Coinbase did not scrap the program but went ahead to announce it in June without setting a launch date and initiated a waitlist to register initial customers.

The Commission then launched a formal investigation against the crypto company, requesting documents, written responses, and sworn testimony by a corporate witness. Although Coinbase followed due process in most of the requirements, it failed to provide the details of registered waitlist customers. The Chief Legal Officer added that: “Despite Coinbase keeping Lend off the market and providing detailed information, the SEC still won’t explain why they see a problem. Rather they have now told us that, if we launch Lend, they intend to sue.”

 

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Uniswap Under Probe from SEC: Unofficial Sources To WSJ

Updated:

According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, unofficial sources claim that the SEC currently probes prominent DEX Uniswap Labs. While the SEC has not made any comment on the development, a Uniswap Labs spokesperson told WSJ that:

“[Uniswap is] committed to complying with the laws and regulations governing our industry and to providing information to regulators that will assist them with any inquiry.”

The unofficial sources told the WSJ that the SEC enforcement team questioned how Uniswap is marketed and demanded information on crypto lending applications. Some informants close to the matter noted that the SEC wants to ascertain if the DEX or lending applications “resisted oversight.”

Uniswap Currently Controls Significant Trading Volume Share in DEX Industry

Currently, the crypto ecosystem ranks number one as the largest DEX based on trading volume. The DEX space captured $16 billion in volume this week, with Uniswap accounting for $10.3 billion of the total volume. According to Dune Analytics, Uniswap accounts for 65.1% of the total DEX trade volume today.

The alleged SEC probe comes several weeks after the DEX giant received heavy criticism for removing 100 tokens from the main user interface at the end of July.

There are claims, at the time, that the platform deemed the 100 tokens in question unregistered securities by US regulators. The DEX noted back then that: “These tokens have always represented a very small portion of overall volume on the Uniswap Protocol.”

The story surrounding the SEC’s probe of the world’s largest DEX application is a developing one, and a lot of new information could come to light in the future.

 

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Ripple vs. SEC: SEC Argues Against Punishment and Override of DPP

Updated:

In the ongoing Ripple vs. SEC legal battle, the SEC recently filed an opposition against Individual Defendants’ Motion challenging the SEC’s improper assertion of the Deliberative Process and other privileges (DPP). The Commission has asserted its position against the discovery of internal and inter-agency documents protected by DPP.

The SEC urged the court not to override and punish efforts by the government, with emphasis on the XRP lawsuit. The agency noted that the internal, pre-decisional, and deliberative data came through defendants which they did not know of. That said, the regulatory body marks the data discovery plea from Ripple as irrelevant to claims or defense peculiar to the lawsuit.

Meanwhile, the Securities and Exchange Commission argued that it had already developed eminent documentation for the defendants. However, the defendant—Ripple— has sealed that most pivotal evidence, i.e, the deposition testimony of former SEC Division of Corporation Finance Director William Hinman that he met with some Ripple representatives.

Hinman claims that he alerted the defendants that their XRP sales were sales of securities, adding that he further advised Ripple to halt the unregistered sales.

The SEC argues that the defendant’s reasons behind its motion challenging the agency’s inappropriate assertion of the Deliberative Process are “illogical.” As such, the agency expects the court to throw out the defendants’ request to reveal non-public and privileged SEC data.

Key Ripple Levels to Watch — August 18

XRP is in the middle of a sharp correction towards the $1 level as the cryptocurrency aims at easing out of overbought conditions. However, the decline might end soon as trading conditions are back at neutral levels, based on our 4-hour MACD Indicator.

XRPUSD – 4-Hour Chart

That said, we expect a rebound over the coming hours to the $1.2000 level, given that price stays above the 50 SMA line. While further declines are unlikely, a break below the $1 mark could frustrate bullish recovery efforts and increase bearish pressure.

Meanwhile, our resistance levels are $1.1500, $1.2000, and 1.2700, and our support levels are $1.1000, $1.0500, and $1.0000.

Total Market Capitalization: $1.98 trillion

Ripple Market Capitalization: $51.7 billion

Ripple Dominance: 2.61%

Market Rank: #6

 

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Grayscale Lists Its Digital Large Cap Fund as an SEC-Reporting Product

Updated:

After filing the Bitcoin and Ethereum Trusts, Grayscale, the world’s largest cryptocurrency asset manager, has successfully listed its Digital Large Cap Fund with the SEC as a reporting product. The behemoth digital asset manager has also filed three other Registration Statements with the regulatory body.

The investment company filed a Registration Statement on Form 10 with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) earlier this year.

Grayscale announced the later development by early Monday, noting that the application has scaled approval and is already effective. This development means that the “first diversified digital currency investment fund” now has its shares registered under Section 12(g) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

Speaking on the matter, Grayscale Vice President of Legal Craig Salm noted that:

“Grayscale aims to provide the investment community with a higher level of disclosure and reporting on top of the already stringent obligations to which our products adhere. We hold our products to a higher standard because this is what investors want and what we believe they deserve.”

Grayscale Currently has Three SEC-Reporting Products and Three Others On the Way

Meanwhile, the company has filed three more similar registrations with the SEC on representing the Bitcoin Cash Trust, the Ethereum Classic Trust, and the Litecoin Trust. That said, Grayscale currently has three products reporting to the SEC. Apart from the latest addition, the Digital Large Cap Fund, the other two SEC-reporting products track the performance of the largest cryptocurrencies; Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH).

Notably, the Form 10 filing is voluntary and is subject to review and scrutiny by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

After an explosive 2020 to early 2021 performance, Grayscale has recorded a drop in demand for its products. According to recent data, the firm’s total assets under management fell below $30 billion due to the debilitating market crash.

 

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Ark Invest Joins Race to Launch First Bitcoin ETF in the US

Updated:

Famous investment company Ark Invest has just announced a Bitcoin ETF filing with the SEC. The firm revealed that it partnered with 21Shares in its ETF undertaking because of its experience in this field.

The proposed BTC ETF will get listed as ARK 21Shares Bitcoin ETF. The proposed ETF will track the performance and price of the benchmark, offering BTC exposure for regulated markets.

While Bitcoin has remained in a range-bound momentum for a while now, crypto-based funds and experts predict a spike in demand and price soon. Cathie Wood, the founder of the investment company, is a big Bitcoin fan, and much of Ark’s holdings reside in crypto companies like Coinbase and Bitcoin itself.

Wood recently predicted that Bitcoin could hit $500,000 because of its inherent properties while admitting that it could take a while for this prediction to come true given the current state of the market.

Ark Invest’s Bitcoin ETF Filing Comes Amid SEC Apathy

Ark Invest has become the latest of several companies to apply for a BTC ETF this year alone. Other companies awaiting approval of a Bitcoin ETF include Galaxy Digital, VanEck, Fidelity, SkyBridge Capital, NYDIG, WisdomTree Investments, and BitWise. The US Securities and Exchange Commission is yet to approve any and has delayed giving a verdict on some.

Meanwhile, SEC Chairman Gary Gensler asserted that the cryptocurrency sector still requires a comprehensive regulatory framework. The Chairman recently stated that:

“This is a quite volatile one might say highly volatile, asset class and the investing public would benefit from more investor protection on the crypto exchanges.”

That said, analysts and experts doubt the possibility of seeing the approval of a BTC ETF this year. The SEC argues that most of the problems it highlighted in Bitcoin, including price volatility and market manipulation, a long while ago still exist.

Nonetheless, asset managers will continue to jostle for the opportunity to launch the very first BTC ETF in the US.

 

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