SEC Creates New Office of Crypto Assets to Address Unique and Evolving Issues Related to Crypto

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has created two new offices – one focused specifically on the digital asset or crypto-asset sector.

According to the SEC, the Office of Crypto Assets has been added to the Division of Corporation Finance’s Disclosure Review Program (DRP). The Office of Crypto Assets is expected to continue the work currently performed across the DRP to review filings involving crypto assets. The SEC said that by assigning companies and filings to one office the DRP will be able to better focus its resources and expertise to address the unique and evolving filing review issues related to crypto assets.

Simultaneously, the SEC created the Office of Industrial Applications and Services which will fall under the purview of CorpFin as well.

The Office of Industrial Applications and Services will be responsible for the non-pharma, non-biotech, and non-medicinal products companies currently assigned to the Office of Life Sciences. The SEC said the life sciences industry has experienced significant growth, which has added to the number of filings and companies assigned to that office. The DRP staff will be able to better build specialized expertise in this space with a dedicated office.

Renee Jones, Director of the Division of Corporation Finance, commented:

“As a result of recent growth in the crypto asset and the life sciences industries, we saw a need to provide greater and more specialized support in the DRP’s Office of Finance and its Office of Life Sciences. The creation of these new offices will enable the DRP to enhance its focus in the areas of crypto assets, financial institutions, life sciences, and industrial applications and services and facilitate our ability to meet our mission.”

SEC Chairman Gary Gensler recently re-iterated his opinion that all cryptocurrencies are securities, perhaps with the exception of Bitcoin and maybe Ethereum. This may include certain stablecoins too. The US Department of Treasury is expected to press Congress to move forward with bespoke legislation to better define regulatory oversight of digital assets which, at times, remain in a no-mans land of being a security, commodity, utility, or perhaps all of the above.

 

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