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The chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Gary Gensler, has reiterated that most crypto tokens are securities, emphasizing that “the law is clear on this.” However, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has asked Congress for authority over crypto spot markets and several bills have been introduced in Congress this year to provide the CFTC with the necessary authority.

SEC Chairman Gary Gensler on Crypto Regulation

The issue of which federal agency should regulate the crypto market has gained much attention recently. While the chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Gary Gensler, has said that the majority of crypto tokens are securities and should fall under the purview of his agency, many people and lawmakers believe that it should be the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) that regulates the crypto sector. Moreover, three bills have been introduced in Congress this year to make the CFTC the regulator of the crypto markets.

In an interview with CNBC Monday, Gensler responded to a question about who should regulate the crypto sector. The SEC chief explained:

Our agency is an agency that oversees this basic bargain. When a group of entrepreneurs is raising money from the public and the public is anticipating a profit, they need disclosure — full, fair, and truthful disclosure, and that’s the core bargain in our capital markets.

The SEC chairman continued: “You get to take the risk but the person raising money or the persons raising money has to disclose various information to you. That’s how our capital markets work best, and the SEC is very good at this and that’s what we do.” He emphasized:

The law is clear on this. I believe based on the facts and circumstances, most of these tokens are securities.

On Monday, at the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) meeting, presided by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Gensler reiterated: “Of the nearly 10,000 tokens in the crypto market, I believe the vast majority are securities. Offers and sales of these crypto security tokens are covered by the securities laws. Given that most crypto tokens are securities, it follows that many crypto intermediaries are transacting in securities and have to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission in some capacity.”

Regarding the SEC collaborating with the CFTC, Gensler stressed:

To the extent that crypto intermediaries may need to one day register with both the SEC and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), I would note we currently have dual registrants in the broker-dealer space and in the fund advisory space.

Meanwhile, the CFTC has asked Congress for authority over the crypto cash market. CFTC Chairman Rostin Behnam explained last week that since the CFTC is a derivatives regulator, it does not currently oversee cash markets. Therefore, he has asked Congress for “cash authorities, so that we can go in the bitcoin cash market, the ether cash market, and the other digital commodity token [markets],” the CFTC chief explained last week.

He also said that the SEC and CFTC will have to “figure that out legislatively” because crypto is a new asset class. “There are different components and characteristics of this asset class as opposed to traditional asset classes,” Behnam said, adding: “We have to rely on 70-year-old case law to determine what’s a security, what’s a commodity.”

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Who do you think should regulate the crypto market, the SEC or the CFTC? Let us know in the comments section below.

Kevin Helms

A student of Austrian Economics, Kevin found Bitcoin in 2011 and has been an evangelist ever since. His interests lie in Bitcoin security, open-source systems, network effects and the intersection between economics and cryptography.

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