The SEC’s decision to expand its digital assets space was well received by industry experts and came as no surprise given the growing interest in cryptocurrencies.
The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) plans to hire more staff to focus on digital assets and nearly double the number of staff responsible for protecting investors in the cryptocurrency markets.
The SEC’s cyber arm, which includes the Crypto Assets and Cyber team, is expected to hire 20 new employees to bring its total workforce to 50 dedicated positions, Cointelegraph reported on May 3. This event occurs when the regulator tries to keep up. with the growing popularity of virtual assets.
The SEC’s decision to expand its crypto arm drew praise from industry experts, with Dr. Anna Becker, CEO and co-founder of EndoTech, called this “a welcome development”. She believes that more security, regulation, and comprehensive financial investment decisions will lead to more acceptance of digital currencies.
Referring to crypto firms working with regulators, Becker told Cointelegraph, “If we work together to set and enforce rules, we will create a marketplace that serves society and allows it to monetize with the right protection.” She added:
“This market is still in its infancy. When it comes to crypto trading, we need the same types of protections that have evolved over the years in the stock market and other major markets. This allows cryptocurrency to evolve into a more reliable asset class with more advanced financial tools.”
Jay Frazier, Head of Strategy at BSTX, believes crypto companies should work with regulators. He noted that the severity of the recent price drop may be partly due to the lack of depth and number of active participants in the cryptocurrency markets. A consistent and predictable regulatory environment has the potential to encourage more institutional traders to get involved in mitigating price volatility, Frazier said.
Andrea Gordon, compliance expert and consultant at Eversheds Sutherland, emphasized the importance of crypto companies working with regulators. She told Cointelegraph that in an ideal world, companies would be able to have an open dialogue with regulators about specific proposals as the regulatory climate for cryptocurrencies keeps changing.
Some companies may not want to deal with authorities because the process can be costly and time-consuming (delaying product launches) or potentially lead to enforcement action, Gordon said. She cited Coinbase’s experience with the SEC in her landing service as a cautionary tale. She said:
“In September 2021, Coinbase’s General Counsel announced in a blog post that after Coinbase had been interacting with the SEC about the product for almost six months, the SEC threatened to sue if Coinbase launched Lend.”
On both parties working together to build a mutually beneficial relationship, she said that education is crucial in the cryptocurrency world. The sector should look for ways to educate regulators and promote a smarter approach to regulation.
“Regulators often release proposed rules for public comment. This is an excellent opportunity for the industry to weigh and explain the potential impact or (possibly unforeseen) impact of regulation.”
Andy Lian, thought leader and chief digital advisor at the Mongolian Productivity Organization, stated that watchdogs can adequately regulate the cryptocurrency sector. Lian explained that most regulators are trying to apply the old rules and laws to the cryptocurrency industry to catch up and this has “created a catch-up game where they have to keep changing”.
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Prateik Gauri, Founder and CEO of 5ire, addressed the current situation between the cryptocurrency business and regulators. “There’s still a lot of distrust on both sides,” he said. He told Cointelegraph that “crypto people have demonized regulators” for working for the banking lobby or other organized interests, and that regulators have labeled all cryptocurrency transactions as illegal activities. He