SEC’s Gensler calls for more crypto disclosures for investors

Gary Gensler added that the ETH ETF applications are still in front of the five-person commission

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SEC Chair Gary Gensler | Artwork by Crystal Le

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Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Gary Gensler says that the agency is just a “cop on the beat” when it comes to policing the crypto industry. 

Gensler spoke to CNBC a day after Robinhood disclosed that it received a Wells notice from the US securities regulator. 

“We have a really important responsibility as being a cop on the beat and ensuring that people that are asking you to put your money into buy or sell securities are following the law so you get disclosures, that you get certain protections,” Gensler said when asked about the notice. 

The crypto industry, Gensler argued, comprises an array of digital assets that constitute securities “under the law of the land, as interpreted” by the Supreme Court. He also said that he doesn’t believe that investors are receiving all of the “information” in crypto. 

Read more: Is the SEC weighing a lawsuit against Consensys?

“Everybody’s asking about what’s the earnings release and how many companies are beating earnings or falling behind and so forth. Where’s the disclosures from these crypto tokens similar to these season earnings releases?” Gensler asked, comparing tokens to publicly traded stocks.

Gensler added that he “genuinely think[s] they’re not getting that in crypto. And if they are a crypto security, it’s required and needed.”

He didn’t directly address the allegations that Consensys made against the SEC in a lawsuit filed last month, and also avoided addressing the alleged investigation around ether, Ethereum’s native token. 

Read more: Empire Newsletter: A busy crypto lawsuit season looms

When asked Tuesday, Gensler just said that the “intermediaries in the center of this rather centralized market generally are conflicted and doing things we would never allow the New York Stock Exchange to do. The New York Stock Exchange is not allowed to trade against the investors.”

In its lawsuit, Consensys claimed that the SEC served the company with subpoenas regarding ETH. The lawsuit confirmed reports that the SEC was looking into the status of ETH.

Former employees of the SEC had previously agreed that ETH wasn’t a security. The Commodities and Futures Trading Commission has labeled ETH a commodity. 

Gensler also added that the ether ETFs are sitting “in front” of the five-member commission now. 

The Commission will take up the filings “at the appropriate time,” he said.


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