US SEC wants to work with Congress to regulate crypto exchanges

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission is looking to cooperate with Congress and other regulators to increase its oversight of cryptocurrency exchanges.

Gary Gensler, the newly appointed chairman of the SEC, said that the commission is looking forward to working with fellow regulators and Congress to fill gaps in investor protection in crypto markets.

The official announced the plans at a Wednesday hearing before the Financial Services and General Government subcommittee of the House of Representatives.

Gensler said that the SEC needs to provide similar protections on crypto exchanges that an investor would get on the New York Stock Exchange or Nasdaq:

“If you placed an order on an app to buy a stock, there are rules that protect you that somebody won’t use your order and get ahead of you. […] So it’s trying to bring the similar protections to the exchanges where you trade crypto assets as you might expect at the New York stock exchange or Nasdaq.”

The new SEC head also outlined some of the challenges to regulating the cryptocurrency industry, stating that the SEC is “under-resourced” in financial terms when compared to some of the big players in the industry. “We only spend about 16% or 17% of our budget, or $325 million a year, on technology, which is less than probably some large firms are spending a month. There are some of them even spending that much in two weeks,” he noted.

Gensler previously suggested that the SEC should be cooperating with Congress to properly address crypto exchanges’ regulation in a market volatility-related hearing of the House Financial Services Committee in early May.

Last week, Michael Hsu, the new head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, announced that the agency has been in talks with the U.S. Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation about setting up an “interagency policy sprint team” focused exclusively on crypto.