Bloomberg Law

Reed Smith attorneys Mark Bini and Joanna Howe examine SEC Chair Gary Gensler‘s recent comments and steps on crypto market regulation. The SEC appears to be policing the crypto beat, and a recent lawsuit shows the agency wants complete jurisdiction over Ethereum, the authors explain.

Authors: Mark E. Bini Joanna Howe

The future of cryptocurrency regulation is an open question. While pending Congressional legislation would make the Commodity Futures Trading Commission the chief regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission is influentially flexing its muscles.

SEC Chair Gary Gensler has made clear that the agency intends to be the lead regulator of the US crypto market.

Gensler said on Sept. 8 that the SEC will be aggressively policing crypto tokens and intermediaries. And on Sept.19, the agency quietly—but radically—suggested in a lawsuit that it would assume jurisdiction over the entire Ethereum network.

Ether, the second-largest crypto by market capitalization, was previously viewed as a commodity and not within the SEC’s jurisdiction.

These two events may well shape the regulations that crypto companies and users will face in months and years to come. Industry stakeholders and intermediaries will need to adjust to the SEC’s new enforcement tactics and assertion of jurisdiction over the markets.