Gary Gensler won’t recuse himself from crypto cases despite ‘appearance of bias’

Despite widespread indignation in the crypto industry at his perceived ‘pre-judgements’ on cases, Gensler says he is “well aware” of his ethical responsibilities


rangizzz/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks


SEC Chair Gary Gensler will not step away from the crypto cases currently being battled in court. 

Gensler told reporters Wednesday at a press conference that he won’t recuse himself, saying he is “fully compliant” and “well aware” of his “ethical responsibilities.” There are multiple high profile lawsuits the SEC is carrying out against the biggest names in crypto, including Binance, Coinbase and Ripple.

The Chairman may be responding to the Blockchain Association’s open letter that was circulated in late June calling on Gensler to step back from anything relating to digital assets

In the letter, the association noted of the SEC that “The Commissioners must comply with principles of due process in their decision to file an enforcement action, which requires them to act without bias—and even avoid the appearance of bias. Only after reviewing both sides of the case, without having prejudged any fact or any issue, do Commissioners vote on whether or not to file an action.”

Additionally, the association alleged the SEC has failed under the leadership of Gensler, claiming that he has shown clear bias against the crypto space. 

Gensler is on the record saying the world doesn’t “need more digital currency.” He has also repeatedly said that he believes most crypto tokens are securities. 

The Blockchain Association has previously argued that, “During his tenure at the SEC, Chair Gensler has repeatedly and forcefully communicated that he has already prejudged each and every case that may come before him, asserting that all digital assets except for bitcoin are securities. Chair Gensler’s vote is tainted: his refusal to engage with the facts and circumstances of each case undermines the Wells process and deprives enforcement targets of the due process rights to which they are entitled.” 

Furthermore, Gensler has not committed to a position on the debate over ETH’s status as a commodity or a security. 

In mid-April, Financial Services Committee Chair Patrick McHenry repeatedly tried to drag an answer out of Gensler about this exact subject to no avail. 

The Blockchain Association stepped up its beef with the SEC by penning another letter criticizing the agency’s supposed “sweetheart” deal with Prometheum, the first crypto exchange to receive a Special Purpose Broker-Dealer (SPBD) license. 
Gensler’s comments come just two days after a group of Republican lawmakers, including Sen. Tommy Tuberville, asked the Department of Justice and the SEC to investigate Prometheum.

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