Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) unleashed a fury against the cryptocurrency industry on Wednesday. Speaking during an interview with the American Economic Liberties Projects, the longtime and almost mechanistically predictable opponent of crypto called on the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to step up its crypto enforcement efforts. Warren posited that industry participants are “scared of a strong SEC”.
Warren Praises SEC’s Gary Gensler
Elizabeth Warren, on January 25, blamed the previous SEC administration under former President Donald Trump for basically opening up the crypto market to “junk tokens, unregistered securities, rug pulls, Ponzi schemes, pump and dumps, money launderings and sanctions evasions”. But with Gary Gensler at the helm, the sector is being cleaned up, which has scared industry players.
“The SEC has brought enforcement actions against celebrity crypto promoters for not disclosing their compensation to the public. It has gone after the employees at exchanges like Coinbase for insider trading. It has charged crypto crooks for defrauding ordinary investors out of millions of dollars,” Warren opined — adding that the commission is just getting started.
Multiple U.S. agencies have jumped into the crypto world along with the SEC in recent years, including the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and Federal Trade Commission (FTC). While most in the cryptosphere would prefer to deal with the CFTC, Warren indicated that the SEC and its chief Gensler are better suited for the role. She notes that some industry leaders spend millions of dollars each year in lobbying to dodge SEC oversight.
“The commission has been loud and clear that crypto doesn’t get a pass for long-standing security laws that protect investors and ensure the integrity of our financial markets,” Warren stated. “This is the right approach — the SEC has the right rules and the right experience, and Gary Gensler is demonstrating that he is the right leader to get the job done.”
The Massachusetts Senator further commended the SEC for disapproving applications for spot bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) thus preventing them from giving investors easy exposure to the digital currency.
Warren Wants The SEC To Use “The Full Force Of Its Regulatory Powers”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren then cited the implosion of a handful of crypto companies like Celsius, FTX, Alameda Research, Voyager Digital, and Three Arrows Capital last year as a key reason why the SEC oversight is vital.
Warren even suggested that the agency should “use the full force of its regulatory powers” across the crypto market so as to “reign in the frauds inflicted on American consumers.” She added that Congress needs to prop up the agency with new resources and new authority to ensure it can take on the sector at full strength.
The crypto skeptic also urged regulators in the environmental sector to hunt down crypto miners, who she accused of pushing up energy costs and contaminating the environment. The environmental impact of proof-of-work mining has long been a key point of contention that regulators cite in calls to prohibit bitcoin.
Notably, this isn’t the first time Warren has called for a more heavy-handed approach toward the crypto sector. In an interview with CNBC’s Squawk Box in July 2021, Warren memorably enraged crypto devotees when she likened digital assets like bitcoin to drugs and snake oil and called for an immediate regulatory crackdown on the fast-growing market.