The head of the SEC remains silent on the regulatory status of the two largest cryptocurrencies
During a hearing by the US House of Representatives Financial Services Committee on Tuesday, Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Gary Gensler declined to answer the question posed by North Carolina Representative Patrick McHenry about whether Bitcoin and Ethereum are securities:
I won’t go into any single token, but I think the securities laws are quite clear.
Earlier today, McHenry, one of the most influential Republicans on the Financial Services Commission, introduced a bill that would exempt developers from complying with certain securities laws when raising funds through token sales.
Gensler once again emphasized that most cryptocurrencies are “investment vehicles”:
Many of these coins are not real. They are not used to buy a cup of coffee at Starbucks…most are investment vehicles…must be within the securities laws.
A handful of digital assets may compete with gold and silver as a speculative store of value, according to Gensler.
The SEC chief reiterated that his agency needs more help from Congress in order to fill in regulatory loopholes.
‘It’s a real shame’
Commissioner Hester Pierce, dubbed “Crypto Mom” by some members of the community, recently leveled the most vitriolic criticism of her agency yet.
During an appearance on Yahoo Finance, she said the lack of regulatory clarity is a “real shame”:
I think that’s really becoming a huge hindrance to the ability of this industry to develop in a safe way, but also in a way that allows innovation to happen. It is a real shame for me that we don’t just take on the responsibility as regulators to develop a regulatory framework.
Gensler apparently avoided asking McHenry about whether he had revised Pierce’s “safe harbor” proposal.