The Challenges of Regulating Cryptocurrency

The Challenges of Regulating Cryptocurrency
Coinbase, which went public earlier this year, announced plans for a cryptocurrency-lending product in June but cancelled the program in September, after being put on notice by the S.E.C.Photograph by Michael Nagle / Bloomberg / Getty
The S.E.C. has yet to set clear rules on cryptocurrencies, leaving the industry guessing. Maybe that’s just how the agency wants it.
On September 14th, the new chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Gary Gensler, appeared before the Senate Banking Committee to talk about how his agency planned to handle the financial markets during his term. He praised the American financial system, discussed the future of corporate bonds, and ruminated on how the rules of the stock market might be modified to make it more efficient. Soon, he turned to cryptocurrency markets, which are notoriously volatile, and adopted a darker tone. “Frankly, as I’ve said before, I think it’s more like the Wild West,” Gensler said. On another occasion, he had described cryptocurrency investments as “rife with fraud, scams, and abuse.”

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