SEC to Focus on Crypto Regulation | Crypto Exchanges May Be Offering Unregistered Securities

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According to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), cryptocurrency companies can gain benefits by self-reporting their violations of securities laws. However, the SEC enforcement director noted that there would not be an amnesty. He added, “We’ll view their conduct more favorably if they come in — such as what the remedies will look like.”

No Amnesty for Crypto Firms

Cryptocurrency companies that self-report violations of security laws to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) cannot expect amnesty but there are some benefits, Gurbir Grewal, the agency’s enforcement director, told Reuters Monday.

The director elaborated:

Our message to them is not, ‘Register your product and we’ll just ignore the billions you have under management in this crypto lending product and your violations of the securities laws.’

SEC Chairman Gary Gensler has repeatedly urged companies in the crypto space to come in and discuss their products with the SEC to bring them under the securities laws.

However, some crypto companies have voiced concerns that the rules are unclear.

The Nasdaq-listed cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, for example, brought their lending product to the SEC last year. However, the SEC threatened to sue the exchange if it proceeded with the launch. Coinbase subsequently shelved its product. The exchange said at the time: “We don’t know why … We got no explanation from the SEC.”

Earlier this month, the SEC “charged Blockfi Lending LLC with failing to register the offers and sales of its retail crypto lending product, Blockfi Interest Accounts (BIAs).” The agency called it a first-of-its-kind action. Blockfi agreed to pay $100 million to settle the charges with the SEC and state regulators.

The SEC director of enforcement added:

Our message is that we’ll view their conduct more favorably if they come in — such as what the remedies will look like, including penalties, and finding a path to complying with the securities laws. That’s the benefit entities get from self-reporting violations and working with us.

Chair Gensler has named cryptocurrency regulation a priority for the SEC. He often stressed the need to put in place “basic investor protection.” He believes that many cryptocurrency exchanges are offering unregistered securities.

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