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SEC Chairman Grilled by House Committee Over Crypto Crackdown

Gary Gensler, the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), received a torrent of criticism from Republican members of the House Financial Services Committee las week for the steps taken by his organization in pursuing cryptotrading companies.

In his more than four hours of grilling before the committee, Gensler remained adamant on the need for crypto exchanges and trading platforms to adhere to stringent U.S. securities rules.

The Republicans brought up many of the regulatory concerns that the cryptocurrency industry frequently raises, claiming that the SEC’s disclosure requirements were created to govern traditional markets and are therefore inappropriate for decentralized digital assets.

The businesses contend that if Congress doesn’t pass legislation that establishes a new legal framework expressly for cryptocurrencies, digital platforms would relocate abroad to avoid getting into trouble with American regulators. They argue that this might undermine the country’s position as a center of crypto innovation and could hand that advantage to its foes.

According to committee chairman Representative Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., the agency was punishing digital asset firms for laws they weren’t even aware they broke. Gensler, however, disputed the claim that crypto platforms lack legal knowledge regarding how to interpret American securities rules.

“There is an entire field in the crypto industry that can interpret the law with which they should comply if they are offering broker and exchange services or clearing services for cryptocurrency tokens,”  Gensler said.

In his testimony, Gensler refrained from going into detail about the facts of the SEC’s inquiry into the demise of FTX and, more recently, its notification to Coinbase that the cryptocurrency exchange is under probe. The SEC’s investigation into Coinbase first came to light midway through last year.

The SEC is cracking down on businesses and initiatives it claims are peddling unregistered securities as it steps up its action against the cryptocurrency sector.

In his Tuesday appearance before the House committee, Gensler showed little remorse for the difficulties that U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchanges must deal with. “Over the past 90 years, we have developed a clear regulatory framework,” he remarked. “The exchanges are just a group of intermediaries who believe they have a choice. They are powerless to resist. They must become compliant since they are frequently noncompliant.”

The possibility of lawmakers setting regulations for digital assets this year has receded, owing to the debt ceiling standoff and the House majority’s attention on matters such as energy and combating China’s multi-pronged threat.

Nevertheless, prominent cryptocurrency companies plan to spend money persuading Biden’s administration and Congress. All industry companies such as Bit Digital Inc. (NASDAQ: BTBT) will probably follow the developments on Capitol Hill as they await clarification on the regulatory framework for the industry.

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