Crypto unit at Securities and Exchange Commission gets new name, 20 more people
The Securities and Exchange Commission’s office for protecting investors in cryptocurrencies and other digital assets is expanding and rebranding, the agency said Tuesday.
The Cyber Unit will now be known as the Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit, and it will grow by 20 positions, including investigative staff attorneys, trial counsels and fraud analysts, the SEC said in a news release.
“By nearly doubling the size of this key unit, the SEC will be better equipped to police wrongdoing in the crypto markets while continuing to identify disclosure and controls issues with respect to cybersecurity,” Chairman Gary Gensler said in a statement.
The SEC created the unit in 2017, and since then the variety of digital assets available to investors has expanded greatly beyond just cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.
The agency said the expanded unit will be better equipped to enforce securities laws as they relate to products such as decentralized finance (DeFi) platforms, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and stablecoins that are pegged to traditional currencies like the U.S. dollar.
The unit, which is part of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, has brought more “more than 80 enforcement actions related to fraudulent and unregistered crypto asset offerings and platforms, resulting in monetary relief totaling more than $2 billion,” the SEC said. Last week alone, the agency announced the prosecution of two separate cases.
Last year Gensler called cryptocurrency markets “the Wild West” of the finance world. In March, President Joe Biden issued an executive order on ensuring the responsible development of digital assets.
In addition to policing digital assets, the Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit also can bring cases against public companies for failing to properly maintain cybersecurity controls and disclose security incidents. Gensler has led an effort for the SEC to create new rules for incident disclosures by public companies.