Elizabeth Warren Praises SEC Chief Gensler, Slams Crypto Lobby

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) praised the country's securities regulator and its chief Gary Gensler's efforts to police the crypto industry and called for lawmakers to give the watchdog the necessary resources and powers to keep things going.

Gensler, who took charge of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in 2021, has made a good start, having had to "put the genie back in the bottle and bring the crypto ecosystem into regulatory compliance" after former President Donald Trump's regulators "allowed it to explode," the senator said Wednesday in an interview with the American Economic Liberties Project.

The SEC has worked to protect investors from crypto products and has prevented "bitcoin exchange traded funds from hitting the market," said Warren, who has been a vocal critic of the sectorparticularly its climate impact. She also praised the commission's enforcement actions against celebrity crypto promoters such as Kim Kardashian and crypto exchanges like Coinbase for alleged insider trading.

"And, most importantly, it appears that the commission is still ramping up. That's why the industry is scared of a strong SEC. And that's why it's spending millions of dollars each year lobbying to escape SEC oversight," Warren said.

Warren has also been scrutinizing the collapse of prominent crypto exchange FTX in November last year, which sent ripples through the industry and doubled regulators' efforts to improve supervision. She has called for the exchange's founder Sam Bankman-Fried to be held accountable to the "fullest extent of the law."

"The SEC should double down and use its tools to enforce the rules and where the SEC needs more cops on the beat, then Congress needs to step up with the resources and the new authorities that are needed to make sure the SEC can do its work at full strength in every corner of the crypto market," Warren said. All U.S. regulators must work together to police the many facets of industry, including its environmental impact from mining activities, she said.

Gensler has been criticized for allegedly holding meetings with Bankman-Fried, once Washington D.C.'s crypto darling and – for a time – the face of the crypto lobby. A CoinDesk investigation in January revealed one in three U.S. lawmakers had received donations from FTX before its collapse.

Warren took aim at the crypto lobby instead.

"Shady crypto players are lobbying hard in Washington," Warren said in the interview, adding that the SEC has been "loud and clear" that crypto shouldn't "get a pass" to avoid longstanding securities laws that protect investors and market integrity.

"This is the right approach," she said.

Read more: Congress' FTX Problem: 1 in 3 Members Got Cash From Crypto Exchange's Bosses