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SEC v. Ripple: SEC Recruits More Cryptocurrency Police to Bring Enforcement Action Against Fraudulent and Unregistered Digital Currency Offerings

Lele Jima

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The U.S. SEC is not prepared to share crypto regulatory oversight with the CFTC amid calls from Ripple enthusiasts as the agency increases the number of digital currency enforcement staff. 

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) does not seem like it is prepared to share its control over the cryptocurrency industry with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), as the securities regulator announced that it has added 20 positions to its enforcement unit responsible for protecting investors.

According to a press release today, the SEC renamed the division from Cyber Unit to Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit, and the department will be responsible for protecting investors from cryptocurrency-related threats.

SEC More Focused on the Crypto Market

Gary Gensler, the chairman of the SEC, said it had become imperative that the agency increase the number of staff in the revamped unit following the growth of the cryptocurrency industry and the widespread adoption of these asset classes, adding:

“By nearly doubling the size of this key unit, the SEC will be better equipped to police wrongdoing in the crypto markets while continuing to identify disclosure and control issues with respect to cybersecurity.”

Per the announcement, the SEC’s Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit will focus on preventing fraudulent activities that utilize crypto asset offerings, exchanges, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and stablecoins.

While the SEC has doubled the size of the revamped unit, the securities regulator noted that its plan is for the unit to have a total of 50 employees.

Originally named the SEC Cyber Unit, the revamped department has so far brought over 80 enforcement actions against fraudulent and unregistered securities offerings in the United States, including against popular blockchain company Ripple.

SEC Under Heavy Scrutiny for Improper Conduct in Ripple Lawsuit

Recall that the SEC charged Ripple and two of its executives, Brad Garlinghouse and Chris Larsen, for conducting an unregistered securities offering that saw the company raise $1.3 billion.

The case has continued to linger for over a year, with no guarantee that the lawsuit will end anytime this year.

Meanwhile, the SEC has come under heavy fire from the Ripple community for the way it has conducted itself throughout the lawsuit, which prompted the court to impose a fine on the agency.

With many people not in support of the SEC’s way of conduct, several calls have been made to lawmakers to grant the CFTC more regulatory powers to oversee the cryptocurrency market.

The argument about which regulatory authority is supposed to oversee the crypto market has been ongoing for weeks, with many suspecting that the SEC’s recent move is just a tactic to keep CFTC away from the nascent industry.

 As reported, Garlinghouse, who is Ripple’s founder and CEO, disclosed in a recent interview that he would prefer that the cryptocurrency market is regulated by the CFTC.

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