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SEC expands crypto team to bolster consumer protection efforts

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The U.S. Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) is looking to nearly double its crypto team to protect investors and combat violations in the crypto industry. A report unveiled this news earlier today, citing an announcement from the regulator. Reportedly, the regulator’s Crypto Assets and Cyber team, a unit of the SEC’s Enforcement Division, plans to add 20 people to its team of 30.

According to the report, the 20 additions will include investigative staff attorneys, trial analysts, and fraud analysts. SEC Chair Gary Gensler and Enforcement Director Gurbir Grewal said the hires were overdue. According to them, these hires are vital to regulating Wall Street’s newest and most popular industry.

In a statement, Gensler said the SEC’s crypto unit has successfully brought dozens of cases against those people looking to take advantage of investors in the crypto market.

He added,

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.

Individual retail investors are most susceptible to fraud

According to Grewal, individual retail investors comprise the bulk of victims of crypto-related securities fraud. He added that cyber threats continue posing existential risks to the U.S. financial system.

Grewal further noted that,

The bolstered Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit will be at the forefront of protecting investors and ensuring fair and orderly markets in the face of these critical challenges.

This news comes after Gensler told lawmakers that his agency needed more staff to handle the volume of new and complex financial technologies more than eight months ago. At the time, he said the U.S. does not have enough investor protection in crypto finance, issuance, trading, or lending.

He added,

Frankly, at this time, it’s more like the Wild West or the old world of ‘buyer beware’ that existed before the securities laws were enacted.

SEC continues pushing for consumer protection in different web3 sectors

This news comes as the SEC continues pushing for stricter rules for the digital asset industry. Recently, the agency said it plans to look for possible securities violations in the non-fungible token (NFT) market. Allegedly, the regulator’s Enforcement Unit has been sending subpoenas asking for more information on fractional NFT.

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