SEC chief Gary Gensler was not always on a crusade against crypto. An old video even shows him claiming that most crypto assets are commodities. The video circulating on Twitter shows Gary Gensler giving a talk as part of a blockchain course at MIT in 2018. At the time, Gensler was the professor of the graduate course “Blockchain and Money.”
Five years ago, Gensler told students:“We already know in the U.S. and many other jurisdictions that three-quarters of the market is not ICOs or not assets designated as securities.”
He also said that this non-securities classification applies in the three jurisdictions that use the Howey test (U.S., Canada, and Taiwan).
ICOs are Initial Coin Offerings, a method crypto companies used to raise money for their projects during the 2017 bull market. At the talk, Gensler said the debate over whether ICOs are considered securities was “not particularly relevant as a legal or regulatory issue” for most of the market. Nearly five years later, the situation looks different.
Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong, for example, also reacted indignantly to the video, tweeting only, “Wow!”
Ripple is probably the best-known “victim” of the SEC, as the company has been in court against the U.S. authority for several years.
Being the SEC Chair, Gensler changed his attitude. In 2023, he repeatedly claimed that every crypto asset except Bitcoin was a security. Over the last few weeks, the agency has taken enforcement actions against several crypto companies and their executive.
It’s not the first time Gensler has done an about-face. Recordings have surfaced in which he praises Algorand (ALGO) and its technology. The absurd part is that Gensler referred to ALGO and several other tokens as securities in a recent enforcement action against Bittrex.
But no one should be blamed for learning or getting smarter, right?
On April 16, Congressman Warren Davidson proposed new legislation to remove Gary Gensler and replace him with another SEC director.
Many U.S. lawmakers and crypto industry executives have joined the call. They are now also calling on Congress to enact regulations. In doing so, they hope to prevent Gensler and the SEC from taking the law into their own hands.