Crypto regulation on the rise: US SEC hires new cyber staff

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has declared that it will be adding 20 new members to its Cyber Unit team – which includes the Crypto Assets department – in a bid to help regulate the cryptocurrency and Bitcoin market.

As per the announcement, the SEC’s new hires is nearly doubling the number of members that are involved in protecting investors and traders in the cryptocurrency industry and across markets. The department has also been renamed from the Cyber Unit to the Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit as part of the Division of Enforcement department. The SEC has said that the new hires include a variety of positions such as staff attorneys, trial lawyers and fraud analysts.

According to SEC Chair Gary Gensler, there is a growing need to regulate and protect investors in the crypto space given the rise of investment in the industry. New investors are entering the market as current investors aim to increase their cryptocurrency holdings. According to Gensler, there is now a need to make sure the space is equipped to safeguard investors from malicious entities who will try to exploit new investors in the space. As per the announcement:

“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. The Division of Enforcement’s Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit has successfully brought dozens of cases against those seeking to take advantage of investors in crypto markets. 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.

There have been reports that Gensler has been in talks with lawmakers about a growing need to hire more staff to undertake the rising number of investors falling prey to crypto-related scams and attacks in the cyber space. Eight months following his request for new members, the SEC released an announcement that the team would be hiring new personnel for the space.

The director of enforcement at the SEC Gurbir S. Grewal also added that most of crypto-related fraud that they see are individual and retail investors – rather than hackers or scammers going for institutional investors. Grewal’s comments come amidst the increased cyber security in the country’s financial watchdog. He noted:

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.”

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