Why the Politics of Crypto Feels Different This Time

By Noelle Acheson. April 26, 2023. (CoinDesk).

Last week’s appearance by Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler before the House Financial Services Committee was his first in more than a year, and his first since the current Congress took over. The political shift in the House of Representatives to Republican control rapidly became glaringly obvious as the tone was markedly hostile. The agency’s approach to digital assets was a key point of contention.

As with most congressional hearings, the event was largely about making political points and grandstanding for the cameras. But it felt significant in that it revealed the scale of Republican dissatisfaction with Gensler’s administration, suggested several points that are likely to become campaign platforms, and publicly weakened the SEC chair’s credibility. That, in turn, could prompt some modifications to the agency’s approach.

Normally the public doesn’t care too much about financial regulation. But the rhetoric witnessed last week indicates that politicians could start to make sure they do. No longer is it just about financial disclosures and settlement rules: It is rapidly becoming about individual freedom and U.S. pride.

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