U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Gary Gensler on Tuesday called on Congress to extend agency authority in the regulation of cryptocurrency exchanges, lending and platforms.
“Right now, we just don’t have enough crypto investor protection. Frankly, right now it’s more like the Wild West, ”Gensler said in a speech at the Aspen Security Forum on Tuesday. “We have taken and will continue to take our authorities as far as they go. “
In recent years, cryptocurrency tokens and platforms have flourished as U.S. financial regulators have struggled to develop and apply new technology. Last December, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network proposed new regulation to make it easier for the federal government to track Bitcoin transactions in one of the few moves to monitor the market. But while other securities markets are directly overseen by federal regulators, there is no single regulator responsible for overseeing cryptocurrencies as a financial market. Cryptocurrencies hit a record capitalization of $ 2 trillion earlier this year, according to Reuters.
Gensler’s remarks on Tuesday were among the clearest he made regarding his thinking on cryptocurrency. Lawmakers like Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) have called on regulators like Gensler to clamp down on the market. “These regulatory loopholes endanger consumers and investors and compromise the safety of our financial markets,” Warren wrote. in a letter to Gensler last month.
Gensler responded on Tuesday by calling on Congress to give the SEC additional powers. “If we don’t fix these issues, I’m afraid a lot of people will be hurt,” Gensler said.
On Sunday, a bipartisan group of Senate negotiators reached a deal on a $ 1 trillion infrastructure package that included some language in the cryptocurrency markets. Specifically, the bill included changes that would define certain market players as “brokers,” opening them up to further scrutiny by the IRS. On Tuesday, this language was changed to allay the concerns of the cryptocurrency community, according to The New York Times.