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SEC boss seeks to regulate crypto space to protect investors

Following an extensive interview on the subject, the chair of the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Garry Gensler, has confirmed that although he has a deep interest, and no small knowledge, of the “digital money craze”, he is not in favour of a hands-off oversight approach, as supported by many involved.

Writing for Bloomberg Business, Robert Schmidt and Benjamin Bain report that “Gensler is contemplating a robust oversight regime, cantered on establishing safeguards for the millions of investors who’ve been stocking their portfolios with tokens.”

“While I’m neutral on the technology, even intrigued—I spent three years teaching it, leaning into it—I’m not neutral about investor protection,” said Gensler on crypto at the Aspen Security Forum. “If somebody wants to speculate, that’s their choice, but we have a role as a nation to protect those investors against fraud.”

The pair’s article cites Gensler request of the US Congress to pass a law that could give the agency the legal authority to monitor crypto exchanges, while acknowledging that the SEC’s powers are already broad.

Gensler is reported as citing the likely impact of digital assets to drive economic progress. Using the analogy of automotive adoption, Gensler said when governments formalised rules and infrastructure, from speed limits to traffic lights, it helped cars become mainstream.

“It’s only with bringing things inside—and sort of clearly within our public policy goals—that a technology has a chance of broader adoption,” said Gensler.

The article says Gensler is concerned about the new ways in which people are getting into crypto, such as peer-to-peer lending in decentralized finance (DeFi) platforms.

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