The Securities and Exchange Commission is set to add 20 positions to its Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit for the safeguard of investors and consumers.
Gurbir Grewal, the SEC Enforcement Director, in an official statement, highlighted that crypto markets have exploded in recent years. He said retail investors are at the receiving end of abuses in this space. The SEC said the strengthened Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit will be at the forefront of safeguarding investors. It will ensure fair and orderly markets in the face of critical challenges.
The regulator’s move comes at a time when digital currencies and assets continue to grow in popularity. Analysts highlighted the Wall Street and retail firms increasingly investing in this space. Last week, Fidelity announced it would add Bitcoin to its 401(k) retirement funds.
As such, the SEC is looking to rein in the$1.7 trillion cryptocurrency market. The watchdog is also investigating fraud-related NFTs. It has stamped 80 enforcement actions against individuals and agencies related to fraudulent and unregistered crypto assets. In March 2022, President Joe Biden signed the Executive Order Ensuring Responsible Development of Digital Assets. The FBI also formed the “Virtual Asset Exploration Unit” to probe crypto-related offenses.
SEC’s enforced unit will look into possible violations related to crypto-asset exchanges, crypto-asset offerings, DeFi platforms, crypto-asset lending, and staking products, NFTs, and stablecoins. Last week, the regulator charged several individuals for allegedly raising more than $10 million through fraudulent and unregistered digital asset securities offerings.
Edward Moya, a senior market analyst at OANDA, believes the SEC’s steps to heighten its enforcement are still well behind the growth of the crypto market. He highlighted that crypto watchers have been waiting months for the SEC to boost its presence regulation of digital assets. Moya said the crypto unit staff is too slow to keep up with the new projects and fraud that’s happening in the cryptoverse.