The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently charged two major cryptocurrency exchanges—Binance and Coinbase—for multiple alleged crimes in line with SEC Chairman Gary Gensler’s larger crackdown on the industry.

Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, was slapped with 13 charges from the SEC. They include the following alleged violations: being an unregistered national securities exchange, broker, and clearing agency, engaging in unregistered offers and sales, misleading their investors, and “failure to restrict U.S. investors from accessing” 

Coinbase was levied similar charges—including acting as an unregistered national securities exchange, broker, and clearing agency. It also faces charges for failing to register the “offer and sale of its crypto asset staking-as-a-service program.”

Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN) tweeted,

It’s unsurprising to see Gensler go after decentralized cryptocurrency exchanges. He recently bemoaned the abundance of digital assets and deemed them “unnecessary.” He told CNBC, “We already have digital currency. It’s called the U.S. dollar. It’s called the euro or it’s called the yen; they’re all digital right now.” 

Interestingly enough, Gensler offered to advise Binance in 2019 and has had several meetings with disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried.

The SEC is getting marching orders from the Biden administration to discourage Bitcoin mining and possessing decentralized currency.

Most recently in the FY2024 budget was the Digital Asset Mining Energy (DAME) tax to levy a 30% excise tax on digital assets to curb their supposed carbon emissions. I noted this here at IWF recently: 

If the budget were to pass and contain this provision, cryptocurrency miners will pay a 30% excise tax for ‘local environmental pollution, higher energy prices, and the impacts of increased greenhouse gas emissions on the climate.’ The measure, if implemented, would go into effect December 31, 2023, and be implemented within a three-year phase-in period: 10% the first year, 20% the second, and then culminate with 30%.

This plan, thankfully, is likely dead-on-arrival following Congressional debt ceiling negotiations. 

If attacks on cryptocurrency persist, legislation to legitimize the industry may be urgently needed to insulate digital asset miners and users from attack.

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