SEC Chair Gary Gensler: Staff Shortages Prevent Tighter Cryptocurrency Regulations

Zinger Key Points
  • SEC Chair Gary Gensler struggled to answer questions on crypto assets during his testimony before the House Financial Services Committee.
  • More resources and personnel are needed to tighten regulation on crypto exchanges and companies, Gensler said.

Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Gary Gensler took a somewhat lenient stance toward digital assets and the broader crypto industry at a Tuesday hearing held by the House Committee on Financial Services. 

What Happened: Gensler began his testimony by asserting that artificial intelligence, and not crypto, is the most disruptive technology of our time. 

A letter signed by Republicans on the committee stated that national securities exchange standards are unsuitable for digital assets.

The letter said that Gensler's frequent calls for businesses to "come in and register" are a "willful misrepresentation" of his agency's policies.

When the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry, a North Carolina Republican, asked if Ethereum ETH/USD, the second-largest cryptocurrency, is a security or a commodity, the SEC chair declined to comment, highlighting the persistent lack of legal clarity around the classification of crypto assets. 

Read also: Why SEC's 'Crypto Mom' Thinks Gensler's DeFi Stance Threatens First Amendment Protections

In response to a question by U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, a California Democrat, on whether the Commission has the power to regulate crypto companies, Gensler said the SEC does have the legal authority to regulate crypto firms and exchanges, but that it might require more personnel and funding. 

U.S. Rep. James French Hill, an Arkansas Republican, wanted to know if the head of the SEC is on board with congressional attempts to establish regulations for stablecoins, but Gensler dodged the question rather than answering it directly. 

U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions, a Texas Republican, criticized Gensler, saying it's contradictory for him to state that his personal beliefs aren't representative of the SEC's. The congressman saidthe committee is dissatisfied with the SEC's recent attitude and performance. 

Price Action: In Tuesday midday trading, the Proshares Bitcoin Strategy ETF BITO was 2.1% higher on the day, with Bitcoin BTC/USD trading at $30,120. 

Read next: SEC Sues Yet Another Crypto Company — This Time It's Bittrex — In Latest Challenge For Industry

Photo via Shutterstock. 

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