Forget crypto — Gensler says AI is the ‘transformative technology of our times’

SEC Chair Gary Gensler advises the press and public to focus on the transformative powers of artificial intelligence, not crypto


SEC Chair Gary Gensler | Source: Third Way Think Tank "Gary Gensler" (CC license)


Despite being a long way from a total win, the SEC appears happy with the outcome of the Ripple case so far.

That’s according to agency Chair Gary Gensler, who earlier today addressed last week’s market-driving ruling during an appearance at the National Press Club.

“This is a recent decision just a handful of days ago,” Gensler said during the speech. “We’re pleased from that decision recognizing the importance of protecting investors on the institutional investors…and while disappointed on what they said about retail investors, we’re still looking at it and assessing that opinion.”

Gensler’s remarks come days after US District Judge Analisa Torres handed down a partial summary judgment in the SEC’s lawsuit against Ripple. In a partial win for the agency, the court ruled that while Ripple’s institutional sales of XRP constitute an unregistered securities offering, programmatic sales via exchanges do not. 

The judge did not address several other issues in the case, and it’s not the final verdict. Torres wrote in her ruling that the court will schedule a trial to deal with the issues not answered in the summary judgment. That said, it’s possible Ripple and the SEC reach a settlement and avoid a trial. Legal experts say the SEC may also seek an appeal of last week’s decision. 

Read more: Exchanges rush to relist XRP, but an SEC appeal is possible

Gensler’s remarks largely echo what the SEC said last week. In a statement released after Torres’ ruling hit the docket, the agency told Blockworks it was “pleased” that the court found that “XRP tokens were offered and sold by Ripple as investment contracts in violation of the securities laws in certain circumstances.”

Gensler’s talk Monday was focused on the rise of artificial intelligence and securities regulation, but attendees were eager to shift the conversation to crypto during the question-and-answer portion of the appearance — a trend Gensler said confounded him. 

“I was so honored to go up to MIT in 2018 and get involved at the intersection of finance and technology, and I was honored to do that with these remarkable scientists and technologists and students and staff at MIT,” Gensler said, referring to the course he taught on blockchain tech at the university

“In 2018, and in 2023, I found it fascinating this focus on digital currencies and crypto by the press, with all respect, and even the retail investing public in contrast to artificial intelligence,” he added. “I for one I’ve already stated here clearly I think artificial intelligence is the transformative technology of our times.”

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