Republican lawmakers on Tuesday slammed U.S. Securities and Exchange Chairman Gary Gensler’s approach to regulating the crypto world.
At a Tuesday hearing in front of the GOP-controlled House Financial Services Committee, the top regulator hinted that the fast-moving digital asset industry was hard to keep up with.
But lawmakers furiously attacked Gensler for not being clearer with his rulemaking. Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN) was particularly aggressive and claimed that U.S. tech companies were suffering as a result.
“You’ve been an incompetent cop on the beat,” he said, before claiming that Gensler was pushing American firms into the “hands of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party.)”
He added: “During your tenure at the SEC, how many rules has the SEC finalized that actually accommodate the existing regulatory framework and are specifically for the digital asset industry so that the crypto market can come into compliance?”
He then cut off the regulator. “The answer is zero,” he said.
Before the hearing, lawmakers dropped an open letter criticizing the SEC for a lack of clear rules for crypto companies.
Following the collapse of mega digital asset exchange FTX last year, the SEC has quickly targeted major U.S. crypto brands.
Gensler, who took the job in 2021, claims that most coins and tokens fall under the securities definition, but many claim that the body is overstepping its authority.
In January, it hit Genesis and Gemini with charges for offering unregistered securities. A month later, it fined crypto exchange Kraken $30 million for violating securities laws.
Then, last month, the Commission issued a Wells Notice to Coinbase, America’s biggest crypto exchange, alleging that its staking products constitute unregistered securities.
And in its latest action yesterday, it alleged Seattle-based exchange Bittrex failed to comply with securities law by not registering with the financial watchdog in several areas. The body further claimed that major cryptocurrencies Dash and Algorand had characteristics that resembled securities.
These actions have some politicians—Republicans in particular—seething, with some claiming that the regulator’s crypto stance will stifle innovation in the U.S.
The regulator today responded by saying he could use more manpower when regulating the crypto industry.
“In terms of digital assets, we could certainly use more resources,” he said. “Definitely there are more things to look at and investigate than we have people on the staff to do.”
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