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On Tuesday, May 3, 2022, the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that the agency plans to hire more than a dozen employees to protect investors in cryptocurrency markets. The announcement stated that the SEC’s Cyber Unit, which includes the Crypto Assets and Cyber team, will hire 20 new employees for a total of 50 dedicated positions. 

‘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’, SEC Chair Gary Gensler expressed in the press release.

The expanded crypto enforcement team will include investigative staff attorneys, trial lawyers and fraud analysts. Gensler shared that these employment plans will be significant in investigating the newest and most popular industries of Wall Street. Moreover, the agency will leverage its resources and expertise to oversee law violations such as crypto-asset offerings, decentralized finance (DeFi) platforms, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and stablecoins, among others. 

According to the Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, Gurbir S. Grewal, individual investors tend to be major victims of crypto-related securities fraud. 

‘Crypto markets have exploded in recent years, with retail investors bearing the brunt of abuses in this space. Meanwhile, cyber-related threats continue to pose existential risks to our financial markets and participants. 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’, said Grewal. 

This recent move was prompted after Gensler’s announcement eight months ago, urging lawmakers in expanding the agency’s staff to handle the complexities new financial technologies bring.

‘Currently, we just don’t have enough investor protection in crypto finance, issuance, trading, or lending. 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’, Gensler told the Senate Banking Committee in a prepared statement.

Although U.S President Joe Biden and other Democrats praised Gensler’s move, Republicans interpreted his approaches as partisan and prohibitive to financial innovation due to the lack of a public set of guidelines.

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