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SEC reaches out to European Parliament on crypto regulation

Chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Gary Gensler appeared before the European Parliament on Wednesday for an “exchange of views.”

Speaking virtually before the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, Gensler highlighted financial technologies that are breaking down borders and bringing European and American markets together.

“I think the transformation we’re living through right now could be every bit as big as the internet in the 1990s,” Gensler said. 

Specifically, Gensler highlighted the importance of “the field of crypto assets.” “This $2.1 trillion asset class is truly global. It has no borders or boundaries. It operates 24 hours a day, 7
days a week,” he explained. 

A parliamentary member from Ireland, Billy Kelleher, asked Gensler about new technologies that could be applied to crypto exchanges to help regulators ensure investor protections. 

“Yes, there are technologies that can help the platforms on anti-money laundering and ensuring investor protections,” explained Gensler. “But I also think it’s a combination of the hard and software on the platforms, the software particularly, and that which you do in your legislative body and what we do as regulators.”

Green finance and new Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) disclosures were also a high priority for the committee, as they have been for the SEC and U.S. legislators. Climate change and government pressures have caused financiers around the world to add sustainability concerns to risk calculations when picking investments. 

Gensler’s comments today in many ways resemble earlier speeches to U.S. organizations. But in reaching out to speak with European legislators he played a role in the Biden administration’s interest in the globalization of financial markets.  

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has spent much of 2021 on a diplomatic blitz to establish global benchmarks for corporate taxes to crack down on jurisdiction shopping. In the realm of crypto, Yellen and Gensler have both focused in part on the role of stablecoins in trading

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