Gary Gensler, the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), has publicly expressed concerns about new bipartisan legislation drafted by Sens. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wy.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) that would provide clarity around laws concerning the use and trade of bitcoin, stablecoin, and other cryptocurrencies, and the regulatory jurisdiction under which such commodities fall.
The new legislation would limit the SEC’s ability to regulate crypto assets and would turn over responsibility to the commission’s civil enforcement counterpart, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), helping to foster a relatively regulation-lite and pro-business environment for blockchain traders.
Some see Gensler’s new expressions of concern as “too little, too late,” given how long digital currencies have been around and the SEC’s perceived lack of resolve in the past around issuing clear and consistent guidance.
A business development manager in the blockchain and crypto space who asked not to be identified told The Epoch Times that it feels to him and some of his clients as if the SEC and the CFTC are “battling” over jurisdiction in the crypto space, even as clients increasingly seek clarity around the rules and want to know whether they will be required to register with the SEC or the CFTC.
Gensler has reacted negatively to the new bill despite having had ample time in the past to try to achieve clarity around the nuts and bolts of day-to-day crypto regulation, observers say.
In a statement accompanying the June 7 announcement of the new bill, the Responsible Financial Innovation Act, Gillibrand described it as “landmark bipartisan legislation” that will see a “complete regulatory framework for digital assets that encourages responsible financial innovation, flexibility, transparency, and robust consumer protections while integrating digital assets into existing law.”
In her release, Gillibrand went on to describe digital assets and cryptocurrencies as having undergone “tremendous growth in the past few years” and holding out the prospect of “substantial potential benefits if harnessed correctly.”