SEC Chairman’s Earlier Statements on Crypto Securities Draw Attention

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In a recently surfaced video from 2018, Gary Gensler, the current Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), is seen addressing institutional investors at a crypto-themed event. Gensler’s statements in the video contradict his more recent suggestions that all cryptocurrencies, except Bitcoin, are considered securities. The remarks have raised eyebrows within the crypto industry, particularly among cryptocurrency owners who believe Gensler’s lack of guidance has led to a contentious “regulation by enforcement strategy.” This article delves into the implications of Gensler’s past comments and their potential impact on the SEC’s current legal position.

A Shift in Stance:

During the Bloomberg and Fidelity-hosted event in 2018, Gensler, then identified as a senior MIT lecturer and former chair of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, stated that four cryptocurrencies—Bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash—were not securities. He further asserted that these four digital assets accounted for approximately 75% of the overall crypto market. At the time, Gensler’s comments came amidst a bullish market for cryptocurrencies, predating his appointment as SEC Chairman by over two years.

Contradictory Guidance:

The significance of the video lies in Gensler’s role as an authority figure addressing hedge funds and institutional investors, providing them with guidance on the legal status of cryptocurrencies. Other videos from Gensler’s time at MIT have also surfaced, wherein he specifically states that Ethereum is not a security. It is important to note that these remarks were made in a personal capacity, not as a government official, and do not necessarily reflect the SEC’s current legal position.

Crypto Industry Reaction:

Critics argue that Gensler’s failure to provide clear guidance on the legality of specific tokens before adopting a “regulation by enforcement strategy” has caused frustration and confusion within the crypto industry. Many cryptocurrency owners and industry participants claim that Gensler’s approach has hindered innovation and stifled growth. However, it is worth mentioning that Gensler’s 2018 comments, made before his SEC appointment, may not hold significant weight in determining the agency’s current regulatory stance.

Recent SEC Actions:

The SEC’s recent crackdown on the crypto industry includes lawsuits against major exchanges Binance and Coinbase for alleged violations of securities laws. In these legal complaints, the agency classified 13 cryptocurrencies, including Solana, Cardano, and Polygon, as securities for the first time. While Gensler has refrained from stating explicitly whether Ethereum is considered a security, the SEC has not yet addressed the status of the other non-Bitcoin currencies mentioned in the 2018 Bloomberg speech.


Gary Gensler’s past remarks on cryptocurrencies have resurfaced, creating a stir within the crypto industry. While his 2018 comments about certain cryptocurrencies not being securities were made in a personal capacity, they contrast with his current stance as SEC Chairman. The lack of clarity and guidance surrounding the legal status of cryptocurrencies has led to frustration and accusations of a “regulation by enforcement strategy.” The implications of Gensler’s past statements on the SEC’s current legal position remain unclear, and the industry eagerly awaits further clarification from the regulatory body.