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SEC's Gensler Doesn't See Cryptos Lasting Long


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Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler.

SEC Chair Gary Gensler likened the thousands of cryptocurrencies in existence to the so-called wildcat banking era that took hold in the U.S. from 1837 until 1863.

Credit: Evelyn Hockstein/Press Pool

Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler said Tuesday he doesn't see much long-term viability for cryptocurrencies, underscoring the importance of protecting investors in the market and bringing it under regulatory oversight.

Gensler likened the thousands of cryptocurrencies in existence to the so-called wildcat banking era that took hold in the U.S. from 1837 until 1863 in the absence of federal bank regulation. Before President Abraham Lincoln created the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, banks issued their own currencies, which they sometimes refused to redeem for their purported value in gold or silver.

"I don't think there's long-term viability for five or six thousand private forms of money," Gensler said in a virtual event hosted by the Washington Post. "So in the meantime I think it's worthwhile to have an investor-protection regime placed around this."

Gensler, who took office in April, previously taught a class on cryptocurrency at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, raising hopes among some industry participants that he would be a friendly regulator. Instead, he has repeatedly likened the crypto market to the Wild West, and urged crypto trading and lending platforms to register with the SEC, saying they are likely offering unregistered securities in violation of federal law.

From The Wall Street Journal
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