United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chair Gary Gensler found himself criticizing the crypto industry on live television yet again on Wednesday—but this time, the regulator appeared to use markedly softer language as he was asked about potential crypto ETFs ahead.

“These tokens… have not given you the proper disclosures you not only need to make your investment decisions, but also that are required by the law,” Gensler said on CNBC when questioned by Jim Cramer about a slew of successful cryptocurrencies listed by the television personality. 

While Gensler’s tone was undeniably critical, his implication that tokens like Solana meme coin BONK might be considered acceptable investments given adequate disclosures is a far less harsh tune than the SEC chief has sung in the past. 

Just months ago, Gensler routinely dismissed the crypto market as a scam-riddled sector rife with “hucksters” and “fraudsters” that investors should best avoid.


His apparent change in rhetoric comes just weeks after the SEC, in an eleventh-hour about-face, abruptly approved the trading of spot Ethereum ETFs on Wall Street. For months, such an outcome appeared increasingly unlikely, given recent allegations that the SEC has internally considered Ethereum to be an illegally unregistered security for over a year.

While questions abound as to why Gensler and the SEC changed tack on Ethereum so suddenly, many believe the move was a direct result of shifting political winds in Washington. With the 2024 election fast approaching, and the crypto lobby dumping some $160 million into tight congressional races, many legislators have come to embrace the industry rather than fight it. 

Some financial analysts predict that by approving spot Ethereum ETFs, the SEC has opened the floodgates to other altcoin spot ETFs, including Solana and XRP.


On Wednesday, Jim Cramer asked Gensler about the likelihood of an imminent BONK ETF trading on Wall Street—a question the SEC hair delicately sidestepped. 

In addition to crypto tokens, Gensler also criticized crypto exchanges from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange

“These crypto exchanges are doing things we would never allow this New York Stock Exchange to do,” Gensler said. “Our laws don’t allow you to trade against your customers.”

The regulator has long accused major crypto exchanges of front-running, or using publicly available knowledge of pending on-chain transactions to beat out other users bidding for block space.

Edited by Andrew Hayward

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