The head of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Gary Gensler, has apparently changed his mind about cryptocurrencies. A video published in 2018 shows that he did not consider some of these assets to be “securities”.
Gary Gensler’s changing views on cryptocurrencies
As a reminder, the SEC’s current campaign, which is greatly undermining the US crypto ecosystem, is based on this distinction. The US financial watchdog claims that certain crypto assets are “securities”, and that this makes the major exchange platforms outlawed.
But for the Gary Gensler of 2018, the distinction wasn’t so clear-cut. While a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the current SEC director claimed that the majority of the crypto ecosystem did not fall into this category:
Chair Gensler in 2018 at a Bloomberg conference in NYC:
“Bitcoin. Ether. Litecoin. Bitcoin Cash. Why did I name those four? They’re not securities.”
What’s Goldman Gary going to say about this one? Deep fake? pic.twitter.com/p7DJlYkJIt
– Ryan Selkis (@twobitidiot) June 12, 2023
” More than 70% of the crypto market: Bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash. Why did I name these four? They are not securities. “
That’s a much more measured opinion than the one he’s currently defending. As a reminder, Gary Gensler stated last February that he considered all cryptocurrencies to be securities, with the exception of Bitcoin (BTC):
Gensler in @NYMag on crypto:
-everything is a security except bitcoin
-every company out there is in violation
-crypto is pointless but blockchain is kinda neat
Hard to argue you’re acting in good faith if admittedly trying to stamp out an entire industry. pic.twitter.com/Ozw8ZJ3ETO
– Alexander Grieve (@AlexanderGrieve) February 26, 2023
Gary Gensler’s uncomfortable position
This change of position might go unnoticed if Gary Gensler hadn’t already shown that his definition of “security” is changing. Another video emerged a few months ago in which the current head of the SEC said that crypto-currencies were not a legal issue:
“Three crypto-currencies are not a legal issue.
“Three quarters of the market is not securities, it’s just commodities, cash, crypto. [It’s not particularly an issue from a legal point of view. “
In addition, it is now known that Gary Gensler would have liked to work with Binance in 2019, but that the platform reportedly refused. So his views on cryptocurrencies are well and truly fickle. Proof of this came last April, during a hearing before the US Congress. When asked whether he considered Ether (ETH) to be a “security”, Gary Gensler dodged the question.
With a Congressional representative yesterday introducing a bill to “fire Gary Gensler”, the SEC director’s position seems to have been weakened. Will this be enough to ease the pressure on the crypto ecosystem? That remains to be seen.