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Gensler on crypto: 'It’s a catalyst for change'

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In an interview with Yahoo Finance's Brian Cheung, SEC Chair Gensler discussed how cryptocurrencies may impact money going forward.

Video transcript

BRIAN CHEUNG: Have a big picture question for you. How would you describe your broad relationship with the crypto industry? Things are changing by the day, it seems like. And on one hand, you have to develop those types of relationships, engage with people in the industry to just learn more about it. But then on the other hand, as a regulator, you're trying to make sure that investors are safe as well. There's these anecdotes of SEC officials going to conferences, serving subpoenas. It's the subject of a lawsuit filed over the weekend. I know you won't speak specifically to that. But, in describing the broad crypto space as the Wild West just to stress the analogy. I mean, sometimes the gun-slinging Sheriff that comes into town is just as privy to all the wildness in the Wild West as well.

GARY GENSLER: Well, I just like to speak to what I see to be the lay of the land as it is right now. And my role changed on April of this year when I took an oath of office and was honored to be in this job. Before that, I was at MIT, very intrigued by the field by Satoshi Nakamoto's innovations, but also the innovations along the way in this space. Look, the crypto field has been a catalyst for change. It is pressed up against what we think about money, about ledgers, about finance and so forth.

But at the same time, in my new role, my relationship shifted in April. It's about trying to ensure that the public policy framework-- we still guard against money laundering and terrorist finance and yet Bitcoin and other tokens are being used for ransomware by bad actors. We still want to guard against and guard for investor protection and make sure that people aren't defrauded. And yet, there's dozens and dozens of cases where we know that people have basically perpetrated scams and frauds on the public. There's 5,000 or 6,000 of these projects out there.

Many of them as my predecessor Jay Clayton would say are likely to be within the securities law. But they haven't come in and registered. You can't prejudge any one of them, depends on the facts and circumstances. But this is a bit of the Wild West and I'm going to-- I'm going to continue to speak openly and actively, direct staff to investigate fraud where they see it, try to bring those projects in to a better, more appropriate public policy framework.

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