U.S. SEC Does Not Identify Cryptocurrencies as a Target for Upcoming Regulation

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) excluded bitcoin and cryptocurrency regulation from its recently released spring regulatory agenda list.

U.S. SEC Does Not Identify Cryptocurrencies as a Target for Upcoming Regulation

Although before that, SEC Chairman Gary Gensler said that retail investors would benefit if exchanges were regulated. He also said that the agency should be ready to enforce crypto cases.

However, cryptocurrencies were not on the new agenda released by the regulators, who noted the priority of developing and finalizing rules for special purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs; short sale disclosures; cryptocurrency market reforms; gamification of trading platforms such as Robinhood and a host of other issues.

U.S. SEC Does Not Identify Cryptocurrencies as a Target for Upcoming Regulation

The agency’s agenda is divided into three phases, namely a pre rule, a proposed rule and a final rule.

Speaking at a hearing of the House Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee, Gensler said regulators need to protect cryptocurrency investors through their activities.

He noted that the crypto market must be regulated, mainly because it is highly volatile and speculative. gensler said that the market trades between $130 billion and $330 billion per day, but that these figures are unreliable because they are unaudited and reflect transactions on unregistered crypto exchanges.

Gensler also pledged that the regulator will work with other regulators to effectively perform its oversight function over crypto exchanges.

U.S. SEC Does Not Identify Cryptocurrencies as a Target for Upcoming Regulation

However, none of his claims are reflected in the agenda issued by the regulator.

Digging a little deeper, however, may reveal areas where the SEC is discussing crypto. Attorney Gabriel Shapiro said of the proposed trading platform rulemaking, “I can imagine gamification touching on digital assets (the Robinhood effect).”

In addition, SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce’s proposed “safe harbor” for crypto projects may appear in the pre-clearance process for exempt offerings. That’s because, under her proposal, token projects that are typically considered securities – i.e., tradable investment contracts – would be granted a “time-limited exemption” from filing with the agency.

In May, Gensler discussed how regulation of cryptocurrency exchanges would protect investors in the House Financial Services Committee. The SEC does not consider bitcoin and certain other cryptocurrencies to be securities, Gensler said. “Currently, there is no market regulator for these crypto exchanges, so there are virtually no protections against fraud or manipulation.”

U.S. SEC Does Not Identify Cryptocurrencies as a Target for Upcoming Regulation

That’s not to say the SEC isn’t monitoring the industry. Just Thursday, the agency warned that bitcoin futures are a “highly speculative investment. The SEC has levied more than $1.7 billion in fines against cryptocurrency companies, according to a May report by Cornerstone Research. Most of the agency’s crypto-related charges were related to fraud, with more than two-thirds of the charges involving unregistered securities offerings such as Telegram’s TON token and Block.one’s EOS token sales.

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