Former Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) enforcement lawyer Ashley Ebersole has said existing laws produce the “wrong outcomes” for cryptocurrency investment, as pressure to regulate the market continues.
During the latest congressional testimony on the issue, SEC chief Gary Gensler signalled a tightening of the reins on cryptocurrency firms and activity, and took a sceptical approach on digital assets, terming the class realm “the Wild West”.
Over the course of last week, Congress gathered for hearings on the growth of alternative currencies, as several crypto executives testified they would welcome greater controls to prevent market abuses.
Following the hearings, Ebersole, now a financial regulatory partner with law firm Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, noted that crypto companies are facing a significant challenge in getting their message across.
“The crypto leaders who braved Congressional testimony delivered a message that reflects the reality of the crypto predicament – the argument is not so much that there are not laws and rules for this space, but that existing law produces the wrong outcome, in many cases, for a country that values innovation and progress,” he said.
“Judging by ability to attract top-tier investment capital and potential to transform the financial services space, the crypto and Web 3.0 spaces are a force that Congress and regulators will not ignore,” he added.
“The challenge is marshalling a mix of collaborative engagement and adversarial proceedings to reach the right end result.”
While at the SEC, Ebersole was a member of the commission’s cross-division working groups shaping the agency’s approach to crypto assets.
In September, the American Bankers Association (ABA) said the sector’s involvement in cryptoassets should be transparent and regulated at a global level.
In a letter to the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, which sets global standards for the prudential regulation of banks, the trade body argued that “rational supervision and regulation that avoids overly prescriptive approaches will promote key public objectives of law enforcement, and suppression of terrorism finance and other security threats”.