Gensler Tells Securities Conference Decentralization isn’t a Fact of Crypto Markets
Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler isn’t changing his hardline stance on crypto holding that “decentralization” isn’t a fact of crypto markets, despite decentralization’s key place in cryptocurrency. And he told the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association’s annual meeting in New York City that he’s going to soften his position that most if not all crypto exchanges are in violation of securities law by offering and listing unregistered tokens.
“There’s a tendency for central intermediaries to benefit from scale, network effects, and access to valuable data. Though technological innovations repeatedly disrupt incumbent business models, centralization still tends to reemerge,” Gensler said. “We’ve even seen centralization in the crypto market, which was founded on the idea of decentralization. This field actually has significant concentration among intermediaries in the middle of the market.”
Added the SEC chair: “Thus, we must remain vigilant to areas where concentration and potential economic rents have built up, or may do so in the future.”
Gensler suggested in a question and answer session during his virtual appearance that most, if not all, crypto exchanges violate securities law by listing unregistered securities.
“As it relates to the intermediaries, the so-called crypto exchanges or lending platforms and the like, they’re highly centralized," said the SEC chair. "They tend to have hundreds of tokens. It’s sort of beyond probabilities that there’s some securities tokens on them.”
Much of the digital asset industry has chafed at Gensler’s stance toward cryptocurrencies during his tenure as leader of the securities regulator, and he and Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chair Rostin Behnam have not always appeared to be on the same page. Though the two appear to be in agreement on an expanded role for the CFTC in regulating markets for digital commodities like bitcoin, they may not agree on what cryptocurrencies fall under that definition.
Without addressing crypto in particular, Gensler emphasized the importance of treating market participants alike, to focus “competition on price, service, and other key factors,” rather than market manipulation or “whether the game is fair.”