Most cryptocurrencies fall under the jurisdiction of the SEC and exchanges working with them must register with the agency. This opinion was expressed by the head of the regulator Gary Gensler at a hearing in the U.S. Congress.
“Crypto exchanges should come in and register. Or, frankly, we intend to use the authority that Congress gave us as an enforcement and oversight function,” he said.
Gensler disagreed with the comment that the agency has not created clear legal rules for the crypto industry.
“I think the rules are actually quite clear: If you’re raising money from the public, and they expect to profit from the efforts of whoever they sponsor, there should be safeguards,” the SEC chairman said.
That said, Gensler acknowledged that bitcoin, like some other cryptocurrencies, can be “commodity tokens” subject to CFTC regulation.
The hearing focused on the SEC’s budget for next year. Gensler requested increased funding, arguing, among other things, the need to strengthen oversight of the digital asset industry.
“I wish we had more opportunities to dedicate ourselves to that,” the official noted.
He cited an unnamed crypto project “whose value has dropped from $50 billion to zero in just the last three weeks” as an example of the demand for investor protection in the industry. Presumably, Gensler was referring to the collapse of Terra.