Gary Gensler, the chairman of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), is seeking US$2.4 billion in funding from Congress to intensify the agency’s crackdown on cryptocurrency misconduct.

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Fast facts

  • Gensler testified before the Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government on Wednesday about the agency’s 2024 financial year budget request. This is the first public comment from Gensler in an official capacity since the recent series of enforcement actions against cryptocurrency firms.
  • Gensler said that the increase in funding would allow the SEC to hire more personnel and equip them with better technology to monitor the rapidly growing cryptocurrency market.
  • The SEC oversees federal securities laws in the U.S. and has been increasingly involved in regulating cryptocurrency activities over the past few years. However, with the rise of decentralized finance (DeFi) platforms and non-fungible tokens (NFTs), Gensler said that the SEC requires additional resources to ensure the market remains fair and transparent.
  • If Congress approves the funding request, the SEC is expected to use the money to establish a new division focusing exclusively on digital assets, with a particular emphasis on the DeFi and NFT markets.
  • Gensler is scheduled to testify before the House Financial Services Committee on April 18, according to HFSC chairman Patrick McHenry, in the first oversight hearing with the SEC. McHenry signaled that the committee plans to ask about the SEC approach to rule-making and digital assets.

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(Updates throughout the story)