It’s official now: Gary Gensler will be the new chief of the SEC [Securities and Exchange Commission], after a 53-45 vote by the United States Senate earlier on Wednesday.
Gensler, who was nominated to the position by President Joe Biden earlier in January, earlier ran the federal CFTC [Commodity Futures Trading Commission], overseeing the implementation of latest regulations around derivatives within the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. As SEC chief, he’ll have ample opportunity to shape regulations addressing the crypto industry – or determine how existing regulations should apply.
“Bitcoin [BTC] and other crypto assets have brought new thinking to payments and financial inclusion, but they’ve also raised new problems with investor protection that we still got to attend to,” Gensler added within an official hearing held by the Senate Banking Committee last month. “If confirmed at the SEC, I’d work with fellow commissioners to both promote the new innovation, but also at the core to make sure investor securely.”
Gary Gensler will start as his agency grapples with a variety of high-profile actions within the cryptocurrency ecosystem, along with its ongoing lawsuit against Ripple [XRP], which the SEC has accused of violating federal securities laws, and 9 Bitcoin [BTC, -1.85%] ETF [Exchange-Traded Fund] apps, which industry participants have clamored for years.
He has already weighed in on a number of these issues as a personal citizen lecturing at MIT. Earlier in 2018, he called Ripple [XRP, -1.05%] a “non-compliant security,” and said other ICO [Initial Coin Offerings] might violate United States securities laws.
The SEC will also be watching as Coinbase went public on Wednesday, following the agency’s deeming its form S-1 effective [essentially a tacit approval].
Gary Gensler will also need to deal with a variety of issues around the existing stock exchanges, including the Gamestop volatility from earlier this year.
Senator Sherrod Brown [D-Ohio], the chief of the committee, endorsed Gensler’s nomination before Wednesday’s vote, calling him an “experienced employee with a robust record of holding Wall Street accountable.”