SEC actions against crypto exchanges send out clear message: 'Buyers Beware

SEC actions against crypto exchanges send out clear message: 'Buyers Beware

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New Delhi, June 11 (IANS) Cryptocurrency-related enforcement actions taken by the United States securities regulator significantly increased in the six months since the bankruptcy of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, the crypto industry news provider Cointelegraph has reported.

An analysis of press releases from the U.S. 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 November 11, 2022, SEC crypto-related enforcement actions jumped to at least 17, an estimated increase of 183 per cent from the preceding period, Coin Telegraph reported.

The increased actions, including the recent ones taken against the two exchanges, led to some observers suggesting the SEC is attempting to redeem itself for failing to police FTX, Coin Telegraph reported.

MarketWatch reported that U.S. Representative French Hill said the recent crackdown was a "cover your ass" move from the regulator and SEC chair Gary Gensler, while speaking at an event in Washington, D.C. on June 7.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission sued both crypto exchanges Binance and Coinbase earlier this week, but analysts said they don't expect such regulatory actions to pose "existential risks" to crypto prices, MarketWatch reported.

Coinbase and Binance together account for 70% of crypto trade volumes, according to data from Kaiko.

"Most capital that had to leave crypto is already out," analysts at AllianceBernstein wrote in a note. "Shallow liquid crypto markets in the U.S may continue in view of the U.S regulatory environment, but we don't see this as an existential risk to crypto given the global presence of the industry," according to the analysts, MarketWatch reported.

Roughly 90% of crypto trading volume happens outside of the U.S., and "regulation seems to be evolving more favourably in U.K, Europe, and Asia," the analysts added.

Bitcoin dipped about 1% to about $26,415 on Thursday, according to CoinDesk data, MarketWatch reported.

The Securities and Exchange Commission's back to back lawsuits this week against the cryptocurrency exchanges Binance and Coinbase mark a new phase in long-running government efforts to rein in the industry. But the crackdown won't change much for crypto investors in the near term, analysts say, NBC News reported.

By targeting Binance, the world's largest crypto exchange, and Coinbase, the second largest, the agency is taking its biggest step yet to tighten controls on an industry that has largely operated outside the traditional financial system.

The commission's moves are the latest in a multiyear effort to erect new guardrails; crypto exchanges such as Binance and Coinbase are likely to continue to operate relatively uninterrupted while the civil litigation moves through the court system, PitchBook crypto analyst Robert Le said, NBC News reported.

"In the short term, I don't see any changes," Le said, referring to the next three to five years. He cited XRP, a digital coin that continues to trade despite the SEC's ongoing lawsuit against the blockchain company Ripple Labs, announced in late 2020.

The lawsuits don't appear to have spooked crypto investors much. Bitcoin, the most-traded cryptocurrency, dropped sharply Monday but jumped back up Tuesday to trade at around $27,000 - significantly higher than where it traded late last year in a broader industry decline that has come to be known as "crypto winter", NBC News reported.

Still, the SEC's actions are "sending a loud and clear message to the public: 'buyer beware'," said Better Markets President Dennis Kelleher, whose advocacy group has called for more stringent regulations on the crypto industry, the report said.