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SEC Chair and US Treasury Speak on Regulation of Cryptocurrency

2022-04-04

On April 4, SEC Chair Gary Gensler delivered remarks on the crypto trading and lending platforms, stablecoins and tokens at the Penn Law Capital Markets Association Annual Conference [1], emphasized that the SEC ought to apply the same protections of investors in the crypto market, as such to the investors who are trading on platforms and participating in entrepreneurs’ fund raising from public. Gensler asserted that crypto platforms, “whether they call themselves centralized or decentralized (DeFi),” “likely are trading securities,” and asked staff to urge platforms to get registered and regulated like exchanges, and to consider whether and how the protections that are afforded to other investors on exchanges with which retail investors interact should apply to crypto platforms, particularly to handle custody issues and trading of securities and non-securities, as well as market making functions. Gensler also expressed concerns regarding the use of stablecoins to impact financial stability and monetary policy, reasserting his position that “most crypto tokens are investment contracts under the Howey test.” On April 7, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen spoke at American University addressing the digital assets policy, innovation, and regulation[2]. Yellen first discussed the Executive Order signed by President Biden on March 9, 2022, outlining a “whole-of-government” approach to examining a broad range of potential risks associated with the dramatic growth in digital assets, including cryptocurrencies[3]. According to Yellen, President Biden’s Executive Order tasked experts across the federal government with conducting in-depth analysis to balance the responsible development of digital assets with the risks they present. [1] https://www.sec.gov/news/speech/gensler-remarks-crypto-markets-040422 [2] https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/jy0706 [3] https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2022/03/09/executive-order-on-ensuring-responsible-development-of-digital-assets/

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