SEC Enforcement Remains Focused on Crypto — Chair Gensler Says He’s ‘Impressed’ With Enforcement Results

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) says its Enforcement Division “remains focused on the rapidly evolving crypto asset securities space.” The securities regulator filed 760 enforcement actions in total this fiscal year. SEC Chairman Gary Gensler commented: “I continue to be impressed with our Division of Enforcement.”

SEC Focused on Enforcement

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced its enforcement results for the fiscal year 2022 on Tuesday.

During that time, the SEC “filed 760 enforcement actions and recovered a record $6.4 billion in penalties and disgorgement on behalf of the investing public,” the regulator explained. The total number of enforcement actions represents a 9% increase over the prior year.

SEC Chairman Gary Gensler opined:

I continue to be impressed with our Division of Enforcement … Enforcement results change from year to year. What stays the same is the staff’s commitment to follow the facts wherever they lead.

The SEC noted that regarding the crypto industry, it announced in May the addition of 20 positions to the renamed Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit (previously called the Cyber Unit), nearly doubling that unit’s staffing. The agency emphasized:

Enforcement remains focused on the rapidly evolving crypto asset securities space.

Staff across the SEC’s Division of Enforcement also continued to investigate potential crypto-related misconduct, leading to several significant enforcement actions, the regulator described. They included charges against Blockfi Lending LLC, charges against 11 individuals for their alleged roles in crypto Ponzi scheme Forsage, and “insider trading charges” against former Coinbase product manager Ishan Wahi and his associates.

Gensler has often been criticized for his enforcement-centric approach to regulating the crypto industry. Following the collapse of crypto exchange FTX, a growing number of lawmakers have called on the SEC to tighten crypto oversight. The SEC chief said the crypto field is “significantly non-compliant.”

Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA) has urged the SEC to take decisive action to regulate the industry. The White House, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Federal Reserve Vice Chair Lael Brainard, and several U.S. senators have all called for proper crypto oversight. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) stressed that crypto needs “more aggressive enforcement,” noting that she will keep pushing the SEC to enforce the law.

What do you think about the SEC’s enforcement-centric approach to regulation? Let us know in the comments section below.

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