Gary Gensler is now head of the SEC. What comes next?

Quick Take

  • In the crypto world, Gary Gensler has been one of the most talked-about figures in government for many months, despite the fact that he hasn’t formally been in government at all yet.
  • A moderate, Gensler is not likely to cut down on the SEC’s work getting token issuers to toe the line, but his interest in technology and financial data suggests serious interest in updating markets.

As The Block reported last week, Gary Gensler is now chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission after being sworn into office.

Now at the helm of the agency that governs trading at the largest stock markets in the world, Gensler will obviously play a key role in the Biden administration’s oversight of the U.S. financial services sector. His ascent to office comes during what might be called a period of heightened scrutiny, a state of affairs that came in the wake of controversy over the GameStop stock craze and the role of platforms like Robinhood and firms such as Citadel Securities, which play significant yet publicly invisible roles in the proverbial engine room of Wall Street. As Congress scrutinizing activities like naked short selling and payment for order flow, Gensler’s agency comes into view — particularly as the Biden administration seeks to take a potentially different tack compared to the Trump years.

It’s worth recalling that Gensler’s last public-sector role was leading the Commodity Futures Trading Commission under President Barack Obama, enforcing the then-new Dodd-Frank Act in the wake of the Great Financial Crisis.

But what does Gensler’s new job — and the specific issues he faces — portend for the world of crypto?

Answering the above question is tough. It’s a subject that the crypto industry has been mulling over since Gensler’s name came up among Biden’s potential picks for the incoming financial regulation team.

As noted by The Block’s Mike Orcutt, Gensler brings to the table a deep knowledge base of the U.S. payments system. His outlook on blockchain technology as a whole seems to center around innovation in payments, given his past comments including those during a Senate confirmation hearing in early March.

According to Gensler, “these innovations have been a catalyst for change. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have brought new thinking to payments and financial inclusion, but they’ve also raised new issues of investor protection that we still need to attend to.”

Source: The Block

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