It remains unclear whether the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) enforcement action against cryptocurrency exchange Kraken represents a broader crackdown on staking, according to Timothy Massad, former Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) chairman.

See related article: A house divided? SEC Commissioner Peirce attacks agency’s fines against Kraken exchange

Fast facts

  • “The Kraken case, just given its terms, was very much clearly solicitation of an investment and falls within the definition of an investment contract, so the facts make it clear why the SEC took its action,” Massad told Forkast during an interview at the Taiwan Fintech Association conference on Thursday.
  • Kraken’s staking programs, however, are rather different from those offered by other platforms, and “we don’t know at this time whether it was just those features that caused the SEC to bring that action or whether this does represent a broader attack on staking,” Massad said.
  • “We’ll just have to wait and see as to whether the SEC sheds more light on what type of staking is permissible and what’s not,” Massad said.
  • Earlier this month, the SEC shut down Kraken’s staking programs for U.S. investors, a move the agency counted as “a win for investors.”
  • SEC commissioner Hester Peirce later publicly criticized the move, calling the approach “paternalistic and lazy.”

See related article: Industry reacts: US cracks down on crypto, India calls for regulatory collaboration