The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will expand the size of its Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit to better combat cybercrime
SEC Doubles Staff For Crypto
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has established itself as the de facto regulator of the digital assets industry, and in its most recent move, it has increased the size of its Cyber Unit by nearly doubling the number of employees—a move that could result in increased legal trouble for scammers operating in the area. The SEC of the United States has announced that it would increase the number of posts in its enforcement section for cryptocurrency markets and cyber-related concerns by 20. Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit is the name of this unit, which will have a total of 50 people that will be committed to this mission.
Cryptocurrency seemed to be in every corner these days. Just a few days ago, Fidelity Investments introduced a Bitcoin investment option for its 401(k) plans. The nation’s biggest plan administrator is enabling the 23,000 employers whose retirement plans it administers to provide their employees with the option of investing in bitcoin as an alternative investment. Bitcoin will be eligible for inclusion in 401(k) plans up to a maximum of 20% of total assets, while employers will have the option to decrease this limit.
According to a news statement from the SEC, the enlarged team will “ensure that investors are safeguarded in the cryptocurrency markets, with a particular emphasis on pursuing securities law violations relating to the following:
- Crypto asset offerings;
- Crypto asset exchanges;
- Crypto asset lending and staking products;
- Decentralized finance (“DeFi“) platforms;
- Non-fungible tokens (“NFT“)
- Stablecoins (USDT, BUSD, USDC)
The unit has an exceptional track record, having launched more than 80 enforcement cases against fraudulent and illegal digital asset offers since it was founded in 2017 during the height of the initial coin offering (ICO) craze, according to the unit’s website. More than $2 billion in monetary assistance has resulted as a result of these initiatives. According to Elliptic, a blockchain analytics startup, the unit has been a significant factor in the commission receiving the biggest fines from the digital asset market, which are more than twice as high as those received by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).
While the growth of the crypto investigation team is a plus for Gensler, it’s uncertain if it will be adequate to achieve the agency’s entire spectrum of crypto aspirations. Previously, Gensler noted the large number of newly released goods and services that potentially fall within the SEC’s purview, mentioning 6,000 new projects that need to be evaluated to see if they constitute as securities under US law.
SEC Chair Gary Gensler, said: “The U.S. has the greatest capital markets because investors have faith in them, and as more investors access the crypto markets, it is increasingly important to dedicate more resources to protecting them. The Division of Enforcement’s Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit has successfully brought dozens of cases against those seeking to take advantage of investors in crypto markets. By nearly doubling the size of this key unit, the organization will be better equipped to police wrongdoing in the crypto markets while continuing to identify disclosure and controls issues with respect to cybersecurity.”
Gurbir S. Grewal, Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, added: “Crypto markets have exploded in recent years, with retail investors bearing the brunt of abuses in this space. Meanwhile, cyber-related threats continue to pose existential risks to our financial markets and participants. The bolstered Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit will be at the forefront of protecting investors and ensuring fair and orderly markets in the face of these critical challenges.”