The US SEC is well-known for its anti-crypto stance, but it wants to take that stance to a new level following a recent announcement from the financial watchdog.
SEC Wants More Personnel In Its Anti-Cybercrime Unit
Today, an official announcement by the financial regulator revealed that the SEC is seeking 21 new personnel for its newly revamped department. The department, formerly known as the Cyber unit, will now be known as the crypto assets and cyber unit.
While the former unit was involved with protecting the populace against cybercrimes, the revamped department will be responsible for ensuring that investors are protected when investing in the crypto space. Over the past five years, the cyber unit has taken action against 85 firms found to be guilty of financial fraud and selling unregistered crypto offerings. Hence, the department recovered nearly $2.5B from those they persecuted.
These new positions will bring the total number of crypto-focused posts in the SEC to 51. These positions will focus on different aspects of the crypto sector, such as offerings, exchanges, lending and staking, DeFi platforms, NFTs, and stablecoins.
While speaking on the availability of these new positions, SEC chief, Gary Gensler, opined, “it has become more important for more resources to be allocated to protect investors across various sectors of the crypto industry. The crypto asset and cyber unit department have successfully taken appropriate action against several firms seeking to rip investors off their hard-earned money.”
He further said, “we decided to increase the number of positions in this department to ensure that we are effectively protecting investors from crypto scams. However, that doesn’t mean we are neglecting our responsibility of keeping cyberspace safe from other non-crypto-related fraudsters.”
Popular Actions Taken By The SEC Against Crypto-Related Firms
Compared to securities that have existed for over 100 years, the crypto industry and blockchain technology are still new to all regulatory authorities. Nevertheless, the SEC has been taking various stringent actions against crypto-related firms it deemed to have contravened its security rules.
As widely reported two months ago, the SEC slammed top lending protocol, Blockfi, with a $100M fine because it violated one of its Securities policies (the 1940 investment company act). It is the biggest penalty the SEC has ever fined any firm.
Also, the SEC has been embroiled in an ongoing legal battle with ripple for nearly two years over selling unregistered securities. The latest update regarding the matter is that Judge Torress wants to end trials on the case by November 2022 and not December 2022.
Even if the sec should lose its case against ripple blockchain, the SEC would still maintain its anti-crypto stance and keep performing partial oversight functions over the crypto space as it is currently doing.
However, no matter the efforts of the SEC, many lawmakers still argue that the SEC shouldn’t be the only agency that regulates activities in the crypto sector. They opined that the SEC needs to collaborate with other agencies such as the CFTC to carry out oversight functions over the crypto space.