In a recent televised interview with Bloomberg, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Gary Gensler expressed concern about the alleged prevalence of fraud and manipulation in the cryptocurrency market.
Gensler’s remarks come as BlackRock and other investing giants have filed spot Bitcoin (BTC) Exchange-Traded Funds (ETF) applications, primarily based on surveillance sharing agreements with Coinbase.
The SEC has not approved any spot Bitcoin ETFs, citing market manipulation and investor protection concerns.
Spot Bitcoin ETFs Encounter Potential Roadblock
In the interview, Gensler highlighted the combinations of different market functions on crypto trading platforms, which are prohibited in traditional financial exchanges for conflict of interest and investor protection reasons.
He also noted that while some crypto tokens come under securities laws, the trading platforms may not comply with time-tested protections against fraud and manipulation. SEC’s Chair added:
There’s a lot of noncompliance in this field. The platforms themselves, where trading is occurring of various crypto tokens, currently they’re not necessarily compliant with those time-tested protections against fraud and manipulation.
Gensler’s comments suggest that the SEC is aware of these challenges and is working to address them. The agency has already taken action against several companies in the crypto industry, such as Binance and Coinbase, for violating securities laws and engaging in fraudulent activities. Gensler’s remarks suggest that the SEC will continue to take a tough stance on noncompliance in the crypto market.
The new surge of spot Bitcoin ETF applications, mainly based on surveillance sharing agreements with Coinbase and backed by investment giant BlackRock, may face opposition from Gensler due to these concerns. However, he noted that he would not make a direct statement until the full five-member commission could review the applications.
Overall, Gensler’s comments suggest that the SEC may continue to take a cautious approach to approving such products, especially given the ongoing concerns over fraud in the nascent crypto industry.
Furthermore, the SEC Chair reflects a broader skepticism about the crypto marketplace among regulators and policymakers, who have struggled to keep up with the rapid pace of innovation in the industry.
While the SEC has not yet decided on the recent wave of filings, Gensler’s skepticism suggests that the commission may take a cautious approach to approving such products.
The largest cryptocurrency in the market, BTC, is trading at $29,170, representing a minor decrease of 0.8% over the past 24 hours.
Featured image from Unsplash, chart from TradingView.com