The SEC Reiterates A Need For Crypto Regulation In The U.S.

May 18, 2021 01:30 PM
Crypto Story of the Day

Crypto Story of the Day


Bitcoin and Altcoin Prices by TradingView


Crypto was marginally lower this morning. Spot volumes are about 2.5x the 30-day average. 

Crypto Story of the Day

Earlier this month, SEC Chairman Garry Gensler said the U.S. lacks a “regulatory framework” for “crypto exchanges” which currently don’t have “protection against fraud or manipulation.” The remarks preceded an SEC “staff statement” that described BTC markets as unregulated and having the potential for “fraud or manipulation.” 

Gensler’s remarks, made at the House Committee’s 3rd hearing on GameStop, called for Congress to define oversight for crypto regulation. According to Gensler, a regulatory framework is required which could “instill greater confidence” in trading venues that currently lack a market regulator. 

Gensler has previously suggested that Congress needs to define new frameworks for crypto oversight and that the current rules give neither the SEC nor the CFTC a clear mandate to regulate crypto. During his confirmation hearing in March, the Commissioner said it’s “a question for Congress for how Congress would want [crypto] to be overseen or it's possibly a question for the [CFTC].”

This view has been echoed by CFTC Commissioner Dawn Stump, who has previously discussed limitations of the scope of the CFTC’s mandate to regulate crypto markets. Stump noted that, while the regulator does oversee derivatives markets, involvement in “cash commodity markets” is limited to guarding “against fraudulent or manipulative conduct that may impact the proper functioning of markets we regulate.” 

As Stump explained, the CFTC is “not in the business of regulating [BTC] transactions or the individuals or entities that buy, sell, transfer, or store [BTC].”

Last week, the SEC released a “staff statement” on mutual funds with exposure to BTC futures and described investment in the asset as “highly speculative.” The statement also urged investors to consider BTC’s volatility as well as “the lack of regulation and potential for fraud or manipulation in the underlying BTC market.”

Anxiety regarding potential crypto regulation has historically tended to be exaggerated. We’ve previously written that Coinbase’s listing makes it difficult to imagine U.S. regulators or Congress backtracking crypto’s mainstreaming. In addition, arguably no other branch of the U.S. Government has shown similar signs of bipartisan support for BTC and crypto as explicitly as Congress. 

For example, in March, Congressman Ro Khanna tweeted that BTC, like other “valuable things,” requires energy, but that “mining must be greener.” Last week, Congressman Tom Emmer called for greater clarity on accounting rules related to crypto. 

Ultimately, we view Gensler's comments as in-line with our view of U.S. crypto policy: to let the space develop under a U.S.-centric regulatory framework.

Please sign up for a free trial of FRNT Financial Morning Note.

About the Author

FRNT Financial is a technology and sales layer that offers institutional and accredited investors access to various forms of exposure to crypto-assets. You can subscribe to FRNT Financial Morning Note at