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US SEC Looks to Expand Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit

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  • What – The crypto crime division of the Securities and Exchange Commission is planning to expand its team by hiring three additional legal professionals.
  • Why – SEC’s new hiring suggests that the department intends to strengthen its efforts to combat misconduct within the crypto industry through enforcement measures.
  • What Next – A recent post on the official U.S. government careers website reveals that the Securities and Exchange Commission is looking to recruit attorneys for its Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit in the Division of Enforcement. 

The division oversees the implementation of laws and regulations governing the use of crypto and cyber issues. Per the post, the new hires are for general attorney positions in New York, San Francisco, and Washington D.C.

According to the official government website, the job advertisement specifies that the selected candidates will be responsible for investigating intricate and swiftly developing cases concerning cyber issues and securities related to crypto assets. Their tasks will also include writing subpoenas or document requests. The new hire will also conduct interviews with witnesses, assess evidence, and perform additional duties as required.

The SEC’s announcement showcases the strict regulatory pressure the U.S. crypto industry faces. This move follows SEC Chairman Gary Gensler’s request for $2.4 billion in funding to pursue crypto misconduct.

The government watchdog’s crackdown on the crypto industry has been ongoing, with plans to introduce new taxes directed at the crypto arena. Even though the industry needs innovation, the crypto community worries that excessive regulations could stifle it.

SEC’s recent actions demonstrate their commitment to enforcing regulations governing the use of crypto assets. For instance, the Beaxy cryptocurrency exchange closed down after the SEC filed several charges against the founder. Similarly, Japan-based DAO Sushi is also facing a subpoena from the SEC.

Last year, the SEC imposed a total of $2.6 billion in fines on lawbreakers in the crypto market. Most of these enforcement actions were due to fraudulent activities and unregistered securities offerings. Firms like Paxos, Terraform Labs, and FTX have faced regulatory scrutiny from the SEC.

Notably, SEC is not the sole U.S. regulator with a specialized unit dedicated to protecting investors in the digital cryptocurrencies. The U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), which oversees national banks, recently established a fintech office to augment its understanding of the latest technological advancements, including crypto assets.

Known as the Office of Financial Technology, its role is supporting the U.S. Treasury in analyzing crypto-related developments and overseeing fintech partnerships. The move highlights the OCC’s commitment to staying ahead of technological changes and its recognition of the importance of the digital industry.

Having said that, there is an ongoing debate about the appropriate level of regulation for the digital industry. Regarding the industry’s regulatory challenges, Congressman Tom Emmer also criticized the SEC chief’s industry overwatch process.

Hiring additional attorneys for the digital currencies and Cyber Unit in the Division of Enforcement signifies the SEC’s continued regulatory focus on the crypto industry. Regulatory clarity can foster innovation and investment while protecting investors and ensuring market integrity.

In conclusion, the SEC’s move to hire attorneys for its digital Assets and Cyber Unit demonstrates that regulatory pressure on the crypto industry is not easing. Finding a balance between regulation and innovation is necessary to ensure sustainable growth in the industry.

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