Despite good faith actors, crypto is ‘rife with fraud; rife with hucksters,’ says Gensler

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Gary Gensler reiterated his concerns about the cryptocurrency sector, saying it is “rife with fraud” and lacks adequate protections for investors during an interview today with BBTV. The chairman’s comments come amid ongoing debates about regulatory oversight for cryptocurrencies.

While Gensler allowed that the cryptocurrency sector contains reputable actors acting in good faith, he stressed previous concerns about the speculative nature of the crypto market and widespread disregard for compliance. He underscored that while securities laws apply to many tokens in the crypto space, crypto investors should not assume they are currently getting full protection under those laws.

“This is a field rife with fraud, rife with hucksters. And there are good faith actors as well, but there are far too many that aren’t,” Gensler said.

Looming appeal

When asked about a recent ruling that determined that XRP was a security when sold to institutional investors but not retail investors, the SEC chairman declined to comment and did not elaborate on whether the commission would appeal the ruling. However, he has previously expressed his disappointment in the ruling, which aligns with the SEC’s stance that the judgment conflicts with the Howey Test and the principles of securities laws.

In the past, Gensler has suggested that most crypto tokens meet the investment contract test and should be treated as securities. This implies that many currently circulating tokens might not comply with U.S. securities laws, raising potential legal issues for the token issuers and platforms facilitating their trade. In today’s comments, Gensler maintained his position, warning investors about the potential pitfalls and dangers of crypto investing.

Gensler’s statements reflect a global concern among regulators about the lack of clarity and regulation in the rapidly growing crypto market. The sector’s substantial growth has triggered increasing scrutiny from regulators who aim to ensure investor protection and market integrity.

Legal battles with major crypto firms like Ripple, Binance, and Coinbase have characterized the SEC’s approach toward the crypto sector under Gensler’s leadership. These lawsuits revolve around allegations of misleading investors, violating securities laws, and willfully avoiding compliance.

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