SEC Chief Gary Gensler Called BTC, ETH ‘Not Securities’ in 2018


A newly-surfaced video that dates back to 2018 showed that the current Chairman of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) – Gary Gensler – classified several cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH), as “not securities.” 

His stance from nearly five years ago contrasts with his nowadays vision. Gensler has argued several times that the only digital asset which could categorize as a commodity is BTC. 

Gensler’s View Before Becoming SEC Chair

The video, which went viral on Twitter, reveals how Gensler says four of the leading cryptocurrencies – Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) – should not be treated as securities. 

The video dates back to 2018 when Gensler served as Chairman of the Maryland Financial Consumer Protection Commission. He was named the Chairman of the SEC in 2021 – a US government agency that regulates and oversees the securities markets.

The agency is also known for its harsh actions against the cryptocurrency industry and recently filed lawsuits against two of the heavyweights in the sector – Binance and Coinbase. The main accusations are that they offered trading services with unregulated securities, such as BNB, SOL, ADA, MATIC, and other well-known assets.

It is worth noting that in its lawsuits, the agency did not touch upon the four cryptocurrencies labeled as “not securities” by Gensler in 2018. 

BTC is a Commodity and Awkward Silence Regarding ETH

Shortly after joining the SEC, Gensler somewhat changed his stance on the cryptocurrency universe. The American, who admitted his affection to the market in the summer of 2021, later called it “highly speculative” and said he had never owned or used digital currencies. 

He also asserted multiple times that “everything other than Bitcoin” is a security, whereas the primary cryptocurrency is the only one that operates as a commodity. 

Unlike BTC, Gensler has been quite unclear regarding ETH’s status. He avoided a direct answer on whether the second-largest crypto asset should be classified as a commodity or security at the beginning of 2022.

Gensler did the same when questioned by the House Financial Services Committee in April this year. He instead gave imprecise answers to the repeated questions asked by Patrick McHenry without specifying in detail.

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