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The Securities and Exchange Commission announced on Tuesday that it will be expanding the Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit by nearly double, aiming to bolster protection of cryptocurrency investors from cyber-related threats. The 20 new positions added to the unit will increase roll call to 50, and comes as a direct initiative to fight the growing volume of new threats that come with modern digital currency.
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“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,” says SEC director of the Division of Enforcement, Gurbir S. Grewal, in the announcement.
Since its inception in 2017, the unit’s actions have brought more than $2 billion in monetary relief from cases related to fraudulent and unregistered crypto asset offerings and platforms. As digital currency continues to gain momentum, the SEC’s expanding team of dedicated officials strives to strengthen its hold on the new and ongoing risks to investors in the $1.7 trillion cryptocurrency market.
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The dedicated new team — composed of investigative staff attorneys, trial lawyers and fraud analysts — will be at the forefront of cracking down on threats to crypto investors and ensure “fair and orderly markets in the face of these critical challenges,” says Grewal.
The initiative has been in the works, and is in part long overdue, as SEC chair Gary Gensler stated back in September that the unit was grossly short staffed and needed “a lot more people” to pursue the increasing risks that emerge from thousands of new digital assets.
The larger staff will expand on the unit’s expertise, with a focus on investigating security law violations relating to cypto asset offerings and exchanges, decentralized finance platforms, NFTs and stablecoins.
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It remains unclear whether the 20 added positions will adequately fulfill the SEC’s original plea for a larger staff, but Gensler is confident that by nearly doubling the 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,” he remarked in the statement.