SEC Chairman Requests $2.4 Billion Budget to Address Misconduct in Crypto Markets

SEC Chairman Gary Gensler addressed the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Financial Services and General Government subcommittee to discuss utilization of the $2.4 billion budget awarded to the SEC. Gensler highlighted the need for more resources to address new challenges, especially those related to the crypto market. He explained to lawmakers how the SEC is using the funds to strengthen regulation and address various issues facing the crypto market.

In his speech, Gary Gensler began by talking about the important role of the SEC in protecting consumers, noting that the market has grown and changed over the past decade. He quickly delved into the implications of the crypto market, which, in his words, is a “wilderness” full of irregularities and a highly speculative asset class.

Therefore, Gensler sees the need to adapt to the changing nature of technology and bad actors, and he seeks to acquire tools to address new developments. He asked for the committee’s support to ensure the SEC is “supported with adequate resources.”

Last week, the committee approved a $2.4 billion budget that would return the SEC’s staffing levels to seven-year-old levels. Therefore, Gensler stated:

“I am pleased to support the President’s request for $2.436 billion in SEC operating funding for FY 2024, allowing us to pave a better path for the future. I want to thank this committee for bipartisan approval last week of a $2.364 billion budget that will allow the SEC to continue operating at current levels.”

In his speech, Gensler only briefly mentioned cryptocurrencies, but he noted that its law enforcement has been facing a large number of tips and complaints. A portion of the budget will be used to increase the capacity of the department. Complaints related to cryptocurrencies will make up a sizable portion of these. Law enforcement efforts will require new tools, expertise and resources for misconduct in emerging and new domains, especially encryption, he said. The new hires will help the SEC address these challenges.

After Ripple suffered a defeat in a lawsuit with the SEC, the SEC still has its sights on regulatory enforcement in the crypto market. This sparked opposition from some lawmakers, including Assemblyman Ritchie Torres, who criticized the SEC’s handling of crypto regulation.

Meanwhile, the SEC has been reviewing BlackRock’s Bitcoin ETF application. The SEC has long been concerned about cryptocurrency market manipulation and investor protection, but BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, may be making some headway.

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