As scrutiny of the cryptocurrency industry mounts, former CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler is urging firms to register with the SEC.
In an interview with CNBC on Thursday, Gensler said that while he believes cryptocurrencies are here to stay, the industry needs more regulations.
"I think we need to have a registration regime at the SEC for cryptocurrency exchanges," Gensler said. "If you want to be a national exchange in the United States, similar to how Nasdaq or the New York Stock Exchange are registered exchanges, I think there ought to be registration requirements."
Currently, there is no federal regulatory framework governing cryptocurrencies. The SEC has brought enforcement actions against some ICOs and exchanges, but has yet to issue any comprehensive rules.
Gensler's comments come as Congress is ramping up its own scrutiny of the industry. On Wednesday, the Senate Banking Committee held a hearing on cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, during which lawmakers grilled SEC Chairman Jay Clayton and CFTC Chairman Christopher Giancarlo about the need for more regulations.
Clayton and Giancarlo both testified that they believe cryptocurrencies are here to stay, but that more regulations are needed to protect investors.
"We owe it to this new generation to respect their enthusiasm for virtual currencies, with a thoughtful and balanced response, not a dismissive one," Clayton said.
Giancarlo echoed Clayton's sentiments, saying that "blockchain is here to stay."
"There is a future for cryptocurrencies. We just have to be very careful," Giancarlo said.
The SEC and CFTC are both working on crafting more regulations for the cryptocurrency industry, but it remains to be seen how long that process will take. In the meantime, Gensler's comments suggest that he believes firms should take proactive measures to comply with the law.
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