- A 2018 video of SEC Chair Gary Gensler suggests Bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash are not securities, contrasting his recent stance.
- Gensler’s previous lenient perspective on these cryptocurrencies has sparked accusations of hypocrisy due to his stricter views and enforcement actions in his current SEC role.
In a surprising revelation, a 2018 video has surfaced featuring the present chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Gary Gensler, stating that several leading cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), and Bitcoin Cash (BCH), are “not securities”. This video, circulated on social media platforms, appears to emanate from a Bloomberg-hosted event for institutional investors.
“Bitcoin. Ether. Litecoin. Bitcoin Cash. Why did I name those four? They’re not securities.” – Gary Gensler
— Dan Gambardello (@cryptorecruitr) June 12, 2023
At that time, Gensler was affiliated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), offering his perspective as an academic. The recorded views predate his SEC chair appointment by approximately two years.
“Over 70% of the crypto market is Bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash. Why did I name those four? They’re not securities,”
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Gensler remarks in the video.
Gensler’s statements in the video stand in stark contrast to his more recent actions at the SEC, where he has initiated a wave of enforcement action on the crypto sector. As the SEC Chair, Gensler has suggested that almost all cryptocurrencies, with the exception of Bitcoin, could be classified as securities. Consequently, the SEC has tagged at least 68 cryptocurrencies as securities in various legal proceedings, yet none of the four digital assets named in Gensler’s 2018 speech feature on this list.
Another notable divergence in Gensler’s past and present perspectives involves Ether. The SEC Chair avoided offering a direct answer when asked whether Ether constituted a security during a U.S. House Committee session in April.
Additional videos from Gensler’s tenure at MIT depict him expressing similarly lenient opinions about cryptocurrency. These include a 2019 video where he commends Algorand’s “great technology”—contradicting the SEC’s lawsuit against crypto exchange Bittrex, claiming Algorand as a security.
Gensler’s recorded commentary prior to his SEC chairmanship and his current regulatory stance has sparked criticism in the crypto community. Many have claimed that these seemingly conflicting views are hypocritical, leading one U.S. lawmaker to propose a bill aimed at dismissing Gensler on grounds of power abuse.
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