Gary Gensler Again Warns Against Investing in Crypto as Market Awaits Bitcoin ETF

With at least 11 Bitcoin ETFs pending approval by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, agency chair Gary Gensler warned investors about investing in cryptocurrency on Monday.

“Those offering crypto asset investments/services may not be complying w/ applicable law, including federal securities laws,” Gensler wrote on Twitter. “Investors in crypto asset securities should understand they may be deprived of key info & other important protections in connection w/ their investment.”

In December, Gensler said the SEC would take a “new look” at Bitcoin ETFs. BlackRock, Grayscale, Ark, iShares, Bitwise, VanEck, Wisdomtree, Invesco, Fidelity, and Franklin have ETFs under review.

But while the Bitcoin ETFs appear to be poised for approval, Gensler said cryptocurrency is still a risky bet. In June, Gensler called the cryptocurrency market rife with ‘hucksters, fraudsters, and scam artists.’

“Investments in crypto assets also can be exceptionally risky & are often volatile,” Gensler continued on Monday. “A number of major platforms & crypto assets have become insolvent and/or lost value. Investments in crypto assets continue to be subject to significant risk,” he said, alluding to cryptocurrency exchanges and companies that have collapsed, including FTX, Terraform Labs, and Voyager Digital.

Gensler also pointed to scams targeting crypto investors. A December 2023 report by blockchain intelligence company TRM Labs said that over $1.7 billion in cryptocurrency had been stolen that year. The $1.7 billion, however, is still less than half the $4 billion stolen in 2022.

“Fraudsters continue to exploit the rising popularity of crypto assets to lure retail investors into scams,” the SEC chair said, highlighting scams targeting cryptocurrency investors, including pyramid and Ponzi schemes, and theft targeting wallets.

While Gensler’s comment had the hallmarks of an SEC investor alert, many on Crypto Twitter took the time of the thread as a backhanded capitulation.

“This is what capitulation looks like, folks,” Autism Capital, a pseudonymous crypto market commentator, said in reply to Gensler’s comments.

“I don’t want your crypto advice Gary,” content creator and podcaster Gabriel Haines tweeted.

“It’s over, Gary Gensler lost!” a cheerful OSF said on the Rug Radio Fomo Hour after the tweet came out. “This is the beginning of everything!”

Edited by Stacy Elliott.

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