Billionaire investor Mark Cuban has lambasted the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chair Gary Gensler for the agency’s unclear regulations, claiming they make it “near impossible” for crypto investors and businesspeople to get clarity from the regulator.
Cuban was responding to Gensler’s recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, in which the SEC boss once again reiterated his focus on investor protection. In the op-ed, Gensler wrote that “there’s no reason to treat the crypto market differently from the rest of the capital markets just because it uses a different technology.”
“The SEC will serve as the cop on the beat. As with seat belts in cars, we need to ensure that investor protections come standard in the crypto market,” Gensler added.
Cuban, however, wondered how exactly investors and crypto firms are supposed to communicate with the SEC.
“Come in and talk to who ? Set up an appointment how ? You using Calendly these days ? Since you understand crypto lending/finances, why don't you just publish bright line guidelines you would like to see and open it up for comments?” tweeted Cuban in response to Gensler’s post.
The 63-year-old Shark Tank star and owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks has actively invested in the crypto space in recent years, with projects like OpenSea, CryptoSlam, and SuperRare making up part of his portfolio.
The BlockFi case
In his op-ed, Gensler cited the case of crypto lending platform BlockFi, which in February agreed to pay $100 million to settle investigations from the SEC and other federal and state securities regulators.
Referring to BlockFi’s high-yield interest accounts and the firm loaning out the borrowed crypto assets at higher rates, Gensler said “the issue was what it did with the borrowed assets and what it didn’t do as a firm: provide the required disclosures to investors.”
According to Gensler, the SEC considers those high-yield interest accounts as securities, which BlockFi failed to register as such.
“Fortunately, there is a path forward. I encourage platforms offering crypto lending to come in and talk to SEC staff. Getting these platforms into compliance with the securities laws will benefit investors and the crypto market,” added Gensler.
In an earlier Twitter thread on Monday, the SEC chair also wrote that the agency’s “rigorous enforcement regime… is about following the facts and the law, wherever they may lead, on behalf of investors and working families.”
“If you were working on behalf of investors you make it easy for questions by investors and businesspeople to be asked and answered. You make it near impossible. Those can't afford lawyers can only guess,” Cuban said in response to Gensler's statement.
This is not the first time Cuban has criticized the SEC's approach to cryptocurrencies.
Last month, following the agency’s claims that at least nine cryptocurrencies considered unregistered securities were being traded on crypto exchange Coinbase, Cuban said that if someone thought that was a bad move in itself, they should wait to see what the SEC will come up with for registration of tokens.
“That's the nightmare that's waiting for the crypto industry. How else do you keep thousands of lawyers employed and create reasons to ask for more taxpayer money?”
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