The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission building in Washington is seen on Aug. 5, 2017.InternationalIndiaAfricaWASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was accused on Tuesday of destroying competition in American cryptocurrency markets by Republican lawmakers, a charge the agency’s chairman steadfastly refused to accept.Gary Gensler has turbocharged legislation against potential digital currency rackets since the collapse of crypto exchange FTX in November, prompting lobbyists in the industry to push Republican lawmakers to check the SEC chairman’s agenda.”Your approach is driving innovation overseas and endangering American competitiveness,” Patrick McHenry, a Republican representative who heads the so-called Financial Services Committee, told Gensler at a hearing in Congress.Empowering McHenry’s argument was an open letter written by Tom Quaadman, executive vice president at the US Chamber of Commerce, who bemoaned the SEC’s appetite for regulations that allegedly stifled competition.”Chair Gensler has identified a range of 50-55 regulatory priorities since the start of his tenure, and has already proposed twice as many rules as his predecessor in just half the time,” Quaadman wrote.Since Republicans took control of the lower house of Congress in January, McHenry has regularly butted heads with Gensler — an ally of Democrats in Biden’s party that includes the likes of Senate Banking Chair Sherrod Brown and pro-regulation senator Elizabeth Warren.Among Tuesday’s heated exchanges between the two was one where McHenry challenged Gensler to explain whether Ether — the second-largest crypto token after Bitcoin — was a security. The SEC chair gave a long-winded response instead of the “yes or no” that McHenry wanted.AnalysisRichard Wolff: US Faces Multifaceted Economic Crisis23 March, 13:55 GMTIn another tense moment, McHenry hinted at a potential turf war between the SEC and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. CFTC Chairman Rostin Behnam, whose agency oversees derivatives products, has said that Ether falls under his agency’s jurisdiction. Gensler, however, refused to take McHenry’s bait on that.Gensler, in his response, stuck to his long-held argument that much of the lightly regulated $1 trillion crypto market violated US securities rules because many of the products consist of unregistered securities.”It’s not a matter of a lack of clarity,” Gensler said. “This is a field that in the main is built up around non-compliance.


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