Senate Confirms Gary Gensler as Next SEC Chief

Gensler previously ran the federal Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

AccessTimeIconApr 14, 2021 at 4:28 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 1:47 p.m. UTC

It’s official: Gary Gensler is the new chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) after a 53-45 vote by the U.S. Senate on Wednesday.

Gensler, who was nominated to the position by President Joe Biden in January, previously ran the federal Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), overseeing the implementation of new regulations around derivatives in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. As SEC chair, he’ll have ample opportunity to shape regulations addressing the cryptocurrency industry – or determine how existing regulations should apply. 

“Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have brought new thinking to payments and financial inclusion, but they’ve also raised new issues of investor protection that we still need to attend to,” Gensler said during a confirmation hearing held by the Senate Banking Committee last month. “If confirmed at the SEC, I’d work with fellow commissioners to both promote the new innovation, but also at the core to ensure investor protection.”

Gensler will take office as his agency grapples with a number of high-profile actions in the cryptocurrency space, including its ongoing lawsuit against Ripple, which the SEC has accused of violating federal securities laws, and nine bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) applications, which industry participants have clamored for for years. 

He has already weighed in on some of these issues as a private citizen lecturing at MIT. In 2018, he called XRP a “non-compliant security,” and said other initial coin offerings might violate U.S. securities laws.

The SEC will also be watching as Coinbase goes public on Wednesday, following the agency’s deeming its form S-1 effective (essentially a tacit approval). 

Gensler will also have to deal with a number of issues around the existing stock market, including the Gamestop volatility from earlier this year.

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), the chair of the committee, endorsed Gensler’s nomination ahead of Wednesday’s vote, calling him an “experienced public servant with a strong record of holding Wall Street accountable.”

Gensler "will lead the SEC at a time when it’s become more and more obvious to most people that the stock market is detached from the reality of working families’ lives,” he said during floor debate on Tuesday.

DISCLOSURE

Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.

Trending

1
CoinDesk - Unknown
First Mover Asia: Bitcoin Holds Above $21K in Weekend Trading; Solana Web3 Phone Faces Long Odds

Ether stays over $1,200; prior blockchain phones have failed because the market has realized their functionalities are already available via apps that can be loaded onto any old phone.

CoinDesk - Unknown
2
CoinDesk - Unknown
Opaque Platforms and Intertwined Protocols Pose Big Risk to Crypto

Second article in a series about risks we’re thinking about during these crypto down days.

CoinDesk - Unknown
3
CoinDesk - Unknown
Putin Weaponizes Inflation

Examining a recent propaganda speech from the Russian leader.

CoinDesk - Unknown
4
CoinDesk - Unknown
Morgan Creek Is Trying to Counter FTX’s BlockFi Bailout, Leaked Call Shows

FTX’s $250 million credit facility offer – if inked as initially proposed – stood to effectively wipe out all BlockFi shareholders, including Morgan Creek Digital, the firm told its investors.

CoinDesk - Unknown