SEC Chair Gensler Advocates for Transparency in Crypto Markets

Crypto Markets

Gary Gensler, Chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), reiterated his stance on the need for transparency in the crypto markets, suggesting they could benefit from some “disinfectant.”

Speaking at the Columbia Law School conference on Friday, Gensler emphasized the importance of disclosures in financial markets, including those related to climate and cyber risks. He argued that disclosures contribute to more efficient markets and safeguard investors’ interests.

In his prepared remarks, Gensler pointed out that some participants in crypto securities markets seek to evade registration requirements, resulting in a lack of mandatory disclosure. He suggested that introducing more transparency could improve the integrity of the crypto markets.

Gensler has consistently stressed that crypto firms must adhere to the same regulatory standards as traditional financial institutions. Over the past year, the SEC has taken action against platforms like Coinbase and Kraken for allegedly operating without proper registration.

The SEC’s recent focus on disclosures extends beyond crypto, with Gensler highlighting the importance of disclosures related to executive compensation, climate risks, and cyber risks. Earlier this month, the SEC voted to adopt rules requiring companies to disclose climate-related risks.

During a question and answer session, Gensler emphasized the role of both the SEC and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) in regulating crypto. He acknowledged that the agencies have different perspectives on whether certain cryptocurrencies, like ether, should be classified as securities or commodities.

While there appears to be some disagreement between the SEC and the CFTC regarding the classification of ether, Gensler and CFTC Chair Behnam maintain regular communication to ensure effective regulation. Behnam has stated that ether is a commodity, while the SEC’s stance on the matter remains less clear.

Behnam has also raised concerns that conflicting classifications could create compliance challenges for market participants. If the SEC were to classify ether as a security, it would potentially conflict with CFTC regulations, impacting registrants who list ether as a futures contract.

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