October 2, 2022

The U.S. securities regulator plans to hire another 20 people to police coin offerings, non-fungible tokens, and decentralized finance.

Source: Coindesk.com
Source: Coindesk.com

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is hiring another 20 enforcement staff for the unit that protects investors from crypto scams and cyberthreats.

With the additions, the number of staff dedicated to probing securities law violations in fields like coin offerings, lending, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and decentralized finance (DeFi) is 50.

Since 2017, the unit has brought more than 80 enforcement actions for fraudulent and unregistered offerings, with monetary relief totaling more than $2 billion.

SEC Chairman Gary Gensler has previously hit exchanges like Coinbase (COIN) for not registering with regulators when they offer security-like tokens. In September, he said the new area of responsibility would require “a lot more people” at the agency.

Recent SEC proposals have indicated it could extend enforcement action to DeFi, which poses new regulatory risks. There are also reports that the agency is looking into whether NFTs should fall under its responsibility.

The SEC polices those offering securities for sale, as well as those who advise on or broker trades, to make sure they are open and honest with clients. It says its enforcement actions in conventional markets mean hundreds of millions of dollars are returned to wronged investors each year.