The Securities and Exchange Commission will nearly double the size of its team dedicated to policing cryptocurrency market abuses. It is the latest sign of the Wall Street regulator’s get-tough approach to the booming industry, reports the Washington Post. The SEC is adding 20 staffers to its crypto enforcement unit, including investigative staff attorneys, trial lawyers and fraud analysts. The move will bring the newly renamed Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit to 50 people, beefing up its ability to police securities law violations involving new coin offerings, crypto exchanges, decentralized finance platforms, and non-fungible tokens.
“The U.S. has the greatest capital markets because investors have faith in them, and as more investors access the crypto markets, it is increasingly important to dedicate more resources to protecting them,” said SEC Chair Gary Gensler. The expanded office will boost the agency’s ability to “police wrongdoing in the crypto markets while continuing to identify disclosure and controls issues with respect to cybersecurity,” he said. The office has brought more than 80 enforcement actions since 2017, securing more than $2 billion in penalties. Over the past five years, the industry’s market value surged more than 40-fold, to $1.7 trillion. The boom has left “retail investors bearing the brunt of abuses in this space,” said Gurbir Grewal, director of the agency’s enforcement division.