The Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) enforcement chief, Gurbir Grewal, lashed out at the cryptocurrency industry, drawing attention to compliance fears and the industry’s intention to evade regulatory frameworks. Speaking at the “SEC Speaks” event organized by the Practicing Law Institute, Grewal emphasized the agency’s commitment to applying existing securities laws to the evolving landscape

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The Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) enforcement chief, Gurbir Grewal, lashed out at the cryptocurrency industry, drawing attention to compliance fears and the industry’s intention to evade regulatory frameworks. Speaking at the “SEC Speaks” event organized by the Practicing Law Institute, Grewal emphasized the agency’s commitment to applying existing securities laws to the evolving landscape of digital assets.

Compliance and Regulatory Avoidance in Focus

Grewal emphasized the cryptocurrency industry’s persistent problems with noncompliance and its innovative attempts to escape the jurisdiction of the SEC. He commented on criticisms directed at the SEC of regulating by enforcement and overstepping its authority, and he claims clarifications distort its consistent enforcement of securities laws.

Grewal mentioned the Howey Test, a principle based on a 1946 Supreme Court case, as the principal method used to identify whether a cryptocurrency is an investment contract and should, therefore, be regulated as a security. The argument challenges the statements of the crypto industry that other regulatory options should be looked into and underlines that the SEC is committed to investor protection within the existing legal precedents.

SEC’s Enforcement Strategy

Concurrently, Grewal’s speech was a stage to rebut the criticisms heaped on the SEC and its workings by some players in the crypto industry. Coingape, in addition, had reported that, the regulatory body has been accused of snuffing out creativity and forcing the industry players to migrate to jurisdictions that offer a more conducive regulatory environment.

However, Gamvial dismissed these claims as distractions from real hazards and problems related to the crypto market, such as fraud and possible lack of transparency. He pointed out the efforts made by the agency to fight these risks through enforcement steps, which were primarily focused on protecting the rights of investors and the integrity of the markets.

Impact on Marginalized Communities

Another issue brought forward by Grewal was how the crypto space preys on marginalized societies with the promise of wealth creation and financial inclusion. Presenting data showing that Black Americans were more likely to own cryptocurrency compared to white people, Grewal raised concerns regarding the unequal effects that a crypto market crash would have on these groups.

He condemned the so-called “predatory inclusion” strategies by some crypto organizations, stressing the function of the SEC in protecting investors from such predatory behavior.

The statement of Grewal follows the continuous legal challenges and discussions about the classification and regulation of the cryptocurrencies. In thus reinforcing the SEC’s dependency on the Howey Test and rejecting other potential regulatory ideas emanating from the smart moneyed crypto world, Grewal made it crystal clear which side the agency takes with regard to the use of currently effective laws in the field of digital assets. 

This approach has been validated by several court decisions, reinforcing the SEC’s authority in the crypto space. Consequently, the SEC aims to shift focus from jurisdictional disputes to addressing substantive issues within the industry, including fraud, conflicts of interest, and investor protection.

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