By Chris Matthews
Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Gary Gensler reiterated his intention to bring cryptocurrency exchanges and lending platforms into its regulatory purview during a speech before the North American Securities Administrators Association Tuesday.
“Over the past year, several bank executives have shared their personal concerns with me about the sheer number of depositors who have moved money from their bank accounts into crypto-related exchanges and wallets,” Gensler said at the NASSA’s Public Policy Symposium, held in Washington, D.C.
“I think there’s a need to bring greater investor protection to these crypto markets,” Gensler added. “Central to that are crypto trading and lending platform, where investors buy, sell and lend give-or-take $100 billion of crypto assets a day.”
Many investors in popular cryptocurrencies like bitcoin /zigman2/quotes/31322028/realtime BTCUSD -0.04% and ether /zigman2/quotes/108573964/realtime ETHUSD +1.94% prize the asset class because it is resistant to control by centralized institutions, but most trading in digital assets happens to take place on centralized platforms, like Binance, FTX and Coinbase /zigman2/quotes/225893452/composite COIN -6.68% .
In an interview with MarketWatch in February, Gensler said that “90% to 95% of the activity in the lending and trading of crypto happens on a platforms” and that the SEC can leverage this fact to bring greater oversight to the market.
“That activity, centralized on those platforms, they need the investor protection, the market integrity and anti-manipulation” rules that govern markets for other financial assets, Gensler said. “I think the problem is, right now, the public isn’t well protected and there’s a lot of folks who are going to get hurt.”