What’s Past is Prologue: Enforcing the Federal Securities Laws in the Age of Crypto

In short, my tenure as Director has coincided with extreme volatility and investor risk in the crypto markets. This has been vividly demonstrated by the dramatic increase in the number of complaints about crypto that investors submitted to the SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy (“OIEA”), from 820 in fiscal year 2019, the first year that OIEA’s annual list of Top Ten Categories of Complaints included crypto, to 5,357 in fiscal year 2023.

In response to this upheaval and rampant noncompliance, we have redoubled our enforcement efforts, some of which I was privileged to highlight in my speech at William & Mary. Perhaps unsurprisingly, there have been even more developments in the crypto markets since those remarks. Just days later, the Pew Research Center released a survey finding that nearly a third of Americans who had ever invested in, traded, or used crypto, no longer held any.  The number of lower-income Americans who had gotten out of crypto was even higher, at 43%, providing another vivid rejoinder to the narrative that crypto will uplift the unbanked, help them build wealth, and increase upward mobility.

The same survey found that a whopping three-quarters of Americans who have heard about crypto do not believe that crypto is reliable and safe. Given the continued noncompliance in this space, they have good reasons to be concerned….

Source: What’s Past is Prologue: Enforcing the Federal Securities Laws in the Age of Crypto