Cryptocurrency-related enforcement actions undertaken by the United States securities regulator significantly increased in the six months following the bankruptcy of cryptocurrency exchange FTX.
An analysis of press releases from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and news reports on its actions found that in the six months preceding FTX’s collapse — the SEC undertook approximately six enforcement actions.
In the six months after FTX’s bankruptcy on Nov. 11, 2022, SEC crypto-related enforcement actions jumped to at least 17, an estimated increase of 183% from the preceding period.
The analysis doesn’t account for the two recent lawsuits the SEC brought against Binance on June 5 and Coinbase a day later.
The increased actions, including the recent ones taken against the two exchanges, has seen some observers suggesting the SEC is attempting to redeem itself for failing to police FTX.
On June 7, MarketWatch reported that Republican Representative French Hill said the recent crackdown was a “cover your ass” move from the regulator and SEC chair Gary Gensler. He was speaking at an event in Washington D.C. that day.
Let’s talk crypto. @RepFrenchHill says to Peter Roskam and Heath Shuler that bipartisanship played a huge role in drafting stablecoin legislation. #BHLegSem23 #BHEvents #Congress pic.twitter.com/D3B60qNgpS
— BakerHostetler (@BakerHostetler) June 7, 2023
Hill claimed instead of Gensler “overseeing FTX” the SEC head was instead “out bashing Kim Kardashian because she’s promoted crypto on some Super Bowl ad,” and said:
“[Gensler] opened up this year, in 2023, with all these enforcement actions, I think it looks like [cover your ass] to me.”
Markus Thielen, the head of research and strategy at Matrixport and author of Crypto Titans previously told Cointelegraph he believes there’s an air of “embarrassment” for those who didn’t catch the issues at FTX.
Related: SEC lawsuits: 67 cryptocurrencies are now seen as securities by the SEC
Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse echoed the sentiment, claiming in a June 6 tweet that the SEC is “throwing lawsuits at the wall and hoping they distract from the agency’s FTX debacle.”
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