SEC Warns of Looming Crypto Regulation Dilemma


Physical representations of the Bitcoin cryptocurrency are depicted in this illustration taken on October 24, 2023. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is finding it difficult to break the cryptocurrency cycle. The regulator has taken action against crypto exchanges without providing clear guidance on most tokens, leading to criticism that it has fostered a grey area and depressed prices. Now it is struggling to hire the experts needed to police the sector, partly because crypto advocates are unwilling to sell their coins at low prices.

According to the SEC’s Inspector General, the agency had difficulty recruiting specialists over the past year, as several candidates did not want to comply with the ethics rules and sell their crypto investments. The report stated that hiring such experts is “critical” to investigate new crypto market issues. Supporters of Bitcoin and the like have long criticized the SEC for regulating through enforcement instead of setting clear guidelines.

The lack of clarity has fueled a market slump, causing prices to plummet. It is possible that a more concrete strategy may help the agency recruit the experts it needs. To do its job properly, the SEC might need to replace its bad-cop routine with some good-cop actions.

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