SEC to Ramp Up Enforcement and Crypto Regulation Actions in 2024, New Report Reveals

Julia Smith
Last updated: | 2 min read
Photo of SEC Chair Gary Gensler, crypto regulation
SEC Chair Gary Gensler. Source: screenshot of a YouTube video / Yahoo Finance

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will continue to “ramp up” its ruling-by-enforcement approach to crypto regulations in 2024, according to Norton Rose Fulbright’s 2024 FinTech Outlook released last week.

The global law firm expects “to see even further ramp-up in enforcement and regulatory actions in respect to US securities laws in the crypto space in 2024,” it wrote in the report.

The SEC’s Heavy-Handed Crypto Regulation Approach Continues

“The SEC has accelerated its efforts to bring enforcement cases against cryptocurrency platforms on the basis that some of the tokens sold on such platforms constitute securities,” the Fulbright’s report noted. “The SEC’s cases seek to subject these markets to the SEC’s regulatory requirements relating to broker-dealer and exchanges.”

Norton Rose Fulbright’s analysis touches on the federal agency’s widely publicized legal cases against several key players in the crypto industry, including Coinbase, Celsius, Ripple, and Genesis. If accurate, Norton Rose Fulbright’s prediction would see the SEC continue an aggressive path toward crypto regulation despite wide-ranging scrutiny from critics.

New Lawsuit Accuses SEC of “Regulatory Landgrab”

The British-American law firm’s latest FinTech report follows the news that the SEC is facing its own legal troubles following a Texas lawsuit filed by the Crypto Freedom Alliance of Texas (CFAT) and crypto exchange startup Lejilex accusing the federal agency of regulatory overreach.

“The SEC’s novel attempt to extend its regulatory power to virtually all digital assets reaches far beyond the scope of its statutory authority,” a February 21 court filing reads.

Consisting of crypto heavy-hitters such as Paradigm, Coinbase, and Ledger, CFAT’s latest litigation argues that the SEC’s ruling-by-enforcement approach “has left this trillion-dollar industry in an unsustainable state of uncertainty, subject to the arbitrary enforcement whims of an agency with an overly broad view of its own authority.”

Coinbase Pushes Back Against Stringent Enforcement Actions

Currently, Coinbase is locked in a battle with the SEC after the federal agency accused the crypto exchange of selling unregistered securities.

Legal counsel for Coinbase is requesting that D.C. Judge Katherine Polk Failla determine whether or not the matter “falls outside of the agency’s delegated authority.”

During a January hearing, Failla pushed back against Coinbase’s request to restrict the SEC’s regulatory scope.

“I worry that I would be doing exactly the thing you’re alleging the Commission is doing here, which is to take power that I don’t have to stop activity I shouldn’t be stopping,” Failla said. “The answer may be that I’m just out of luck until Congress acts.”