SEC Chair Gary Gensler issues stark warning about crypto investing ahead of Bitcoin ETF decision

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chair Gary Gensler issued a cautionary advisory regarding crypto asset investments just ahead of the highly anticipated spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) approval deadline.

In a Jan. 8 post on social media platform X (formerly Twitter), Gensler highlighted the risks of investing in cryptocurrencies, citing regulatory non-compliance, volatility, and potentially fraudulent activities as key concerns.

Gensler’s crypto warning

Gensler pointed out that some entities offering crypto investments might not be adhering to relevant laws, potentially leaving investors without crucial information needed to make informed decisions.

“Those offering crypto asset investments/services may not be complying with applicable law, including federal securities laws. Investors in crypto asset securities should understand they may be deprived of key info and other important protections in connection with their investment,” Gensler stated.

The regulatory chief further emphasized crypto assets’ high risk and volatility, noting instances where crypto platforms have collapsed and digital asset prices lost substantial value.

Additionally, he expressed alarm over the proliferation of scams within the crypto space, including fraudulent coin offerings, Ponzi and pyramid schemes, and instances of outright theft where project promoters vanish with investors’ funds.

Meanwhile, Gensler’s statement is not entirely surprising considering his stance towards the industry since he took office. Under Gensler, the Commission has filed several legal actions against major crypto firms like Coinbase and Binance, alleging that their operations violated securities law. Additionally, the regulator has labeled several large-cap cryptocurrencies, like SolanaCardano, and Polygon, as crypto securities tokens in many of its legal actions.

However, his advisory echoes an earlier warning by the SEC’s Office of Investor Education, cautioning retail investors about the risks posed by various crypto assets, including meme coins and NFTs.

The timing of these advisories has stirred speculation within the crypto community about the potential approval of a spot Bitcoin ETF by the regulator.

Earlier today, several potential ETF issuers, including Grayscale, BlackRock, Bitwise, and others, adjusted their applications, mainly revising the product management fees to attract potential investors. CryptoSlate also reported that the probability of the SEC denying a spot Bitcoin ETF fell to just 5%.

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