It’s Tuesday, and cryptocurrency prices are still falling.
As of 2:50 p.m. here’s how prices look for several of the biggest names in cryptocurrency:
- Industry bellwether Bitcoin (CRYPTO:BTC) is down 4.2% over the last 24 hours, according to data from Coindesk.
- Dogecoin (CRYPTO:DOGE) is down a bit more — 4.9%.
- XRP (CRYPTO:XRP) has fallen even more than that — 5.8%.
- And Ethereum (CRYPTO:ETH) is suffering most of all, declining 6.6%.
So what’s bugging cryptocurrency investors this time? Late last week, if you recall, the U.S. Senate began work on a near-$1 trillion infrastructure bill, and promised to fund it, in part, with a $28 billion tax on cryptocurrency transactions — and new reporting requirements for “brokers” in the industry to boot.
Today the SEC got in on the act, with new SEC Chairman Gary Gensler giving an interview to Bloomberg, in which he sketched out his thoughts on setting up a “robust oversight regime.”
Those were Bloomberg’s words, not his, by the way. In fact, Gensler pronounced himself “neutral,” and even “intrigued” by the concept of blockchain technology — but warned that he is “not neutral about investor protection” and determined to “protect … investors against fraud.”
Gensler reminded Bloomberg that he has specifically asked Congress to pass a law authorizing the SEC to monitor crypto exchanges, and that even without such a law, the SEC has broad powers to take action. He did not, however, lay out a timeline for whatever actions he wants the SEC to take.
Now what does this mean for investors? Delayed action by the SEC could be bad news — as well as good.
On the bad side, Gensler apparently declined to comment on whether he plans to approve any of the multiple applications the SEC has received from companies wanting to set up exchange-traded funds for investing in bitcoin. By making it easier to invest in cryptocurrencies, that kind of SEC action would actually be a boon to the crypto market by driving demand, so delay isn’t necessarily a good thing.
On the good side, however, Bloomberg cites at least one crypto lawyer pointing out that although cryptocurrency investors don’t necessarily love the idea of SEC regulation, setting out clear rules for investing in crypto “would bring more certainty to the industry.”
When you consider how volatile cryptocurrency prices have appeared these past few months — and often volatile to the downside — a bit of certainty might be just the thing this market needs.
This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.