Today in Crypto: Gensler Steps Up; Coinbase Beat Down

Here’s a look a some of the events shaping the cryptocurrency landscape Wednesday (Dec. 7).

Governments step up to the plate, while market makers slim down.

Gensler: SEC Can Regulate Crypto

The runway for crypto firms is getting shorter. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chair Gary Gensler seems to be saying “the buck stops here,” by waving away the calls for legislation to increase the authority of his agency to regulate the crypto industry. He said he already has enough power under the current authority granted to the SEC.

Gensler said in an interview on Yahoo Finance Wednesday that the SEC has “the basic disclosure and governance requirements in place” to police what he calls a “largely noncompliant field” and hold digital-assets firms accountable.

What would really help, according to Gensler, is more resources for his agency and more authority over other jurisdictions.

Still, whether the SEC is looking for new laws or not, regulations around crypto have become a pressing bipartisan priority for Congress, with proposed legislation looking to give the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) a prominent role.

Coinbase Revenue Halved, Says CEO

The chief executive officer of cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, Brian Armstrong, tells Bloomberg that his company’s revenue likely to take a 50% tumble this year.

Armstrong points to the collapse of once-time rival FTX as sending tremors through crypto investors’ confidence. Even ignoring FTX, it wasn’t a good year for crypto in general, as even the more popularly traded tokens like ethereum and bitcoin have substantially shrunk in price. Coinbase’s own shares have dipped more than 80% this year, as the industry more broadly undergoes a market contraction.

The economic situation has affected trading on Coinbase’s platform, with Armstrong reporting that the company’s Q3 2022 revenue was down 75% year over year. During the last three months of 2021, the price of bitcoin peaked at $69,000. Wednesday (Dec. 7) the nominal cryptocurrency is trading at around $16,800.

Spain’s Explores CBDC Pilot 

Spain is getting into the central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) game. CBDCs are being experimented with more broadly across global jurisdictions, as national banking systems look to pilot proof-of-concept exercises testing the potential for next generation digital payment infrastructure and regulations.

Spain’s central bank is opening up a call for interested companies, including financial services businesses and institutions and technology solution providers, to participate in a program designed to investigate the potential future benefits, pitfalls and applications of a wholesale CBDC.

Interested parties are encouraged to apply both individually or as part of a larger consortium or group and provide details around how they plan to bring to life the future-focused pilot exercise. Spain’s central bank notes that it maintains the right to partially implement, or even combine, submitted proposals.

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