SEC under Trump would ‘vigorously pursue’ crypto regulation – former regulator says

Former SEC Division of Enforcement Assistant Director Jennifer Lee said on May 2 that Donald Trump’s possible reelection likely won’t change the SEC’s stance on crypto.

Lee told CNBC the SEC “vigorously pursued crypto cases” during Trump’s first presidential term and that it brought “daylight and regulation” to the burgeoning industry.

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She predicted that the SEC would continue to “define its space and reach over crypto” if Trump served a second presidential term.

The SEC is more consistent about whether specific cryptos fall within the agency’s scope, but the extent of its jurisdiction over the industry remains an open question, Lee said.

Lee did not comment on the SEC’s exact actions during Trump’s first term. However, then-SEC chair Jay Clayton critically brought some crypto sales under the SEC’s purview circa 2018, including during a Senate hearing where he said all ICOs he had seen were securities.

Clayton also believed that some cryptos, including Bitcoin, were not securities at the time.

Others expect pro-crypto policies

Another ex-SEC member, Former Chief of the SEC Office of Internet Enforcement John Reed Stark, has argued that the SEC under Trump may not be harsh on crypto.

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Stark said in September that a Republican-appointed SEC chair would likely “slow down considerably” the SEC’s crypto enforcement efforts. He also suggested that Trump may change his anti-crypto attitude to cater to single-issue crypto voters.

Stark noted that Trump has significant crypto holdings, an assertion backed by financial filings related to Trump’s NFT ventures.

Others have suggested a similarly light touch. In January, House Majority Whip Tom Emmer said a second Trump administration could be “more friendly” to crypto.

In March, Trump himself suggested a measured approach to crypto regulation.

Regardless of policy change, a change in presidential administration could impact SEC leadership. SEC chairs generally resign during administration changes. As such, current SEC chair Gary Gensler, whose term lasts until June 2026, could resign in the event of a Trump victory.

The likely outcome of the US presidential election is unknown. FiveThirtyEight predicts that Trump and Biden have equal odds of winning, with Trump at 41.7% and Biden at 40.7%.

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Author: Mike Dalton

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