Gary Gensler Tricks X Users with Faux Resignation Post

An X post from Grary Gensler fooled many people into thinking the SEC Chair is retiring, but the regulator seems more motivated than ever to continue its enforcement streak.

Gary Gensler caught the attention of the crypto community with a post that seemed like a resignation announcement but ended with a twist. This drew a lot of discussions and criticisms from many in the community, especially about his enforcement-focused regulatory style. Meanwhile, Senator Elizabeth Warren is still pushing for stricter AML laws for stablecoins, reflecting ongoing legislative efforts to regulate the crypto industry, like the Lummis-Gillibrand Payment Stablecoin Act. In the political sphere, a PAC named Protect Progress is investing millions in supporting pro-crypto candidates in the upcoming U.S. House races.

SEC Chair Causes Stir on Social Media

Gary Gensler, the Chair of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), recently turned quite a few heads on X with a post that led many people to believe he was announcing his resignation. In his Apr. 17 post, Gensler stated how grateful he is for his tenure and pointed out some of the achievements of the SEC staff in serving both investors and issuers. He also mentioned that the SEC completed more than 2,000 enforcement actions under his leadership. To many, this looked like a farewell message.

However, Gensler finished his posts with a very surprising twist, stating, "And we’re not done," which clarified that he was not resigning. This post quickly went viral and got over 1.1 million views. Ironically, many responses to Gensler’s post ended up gaining more traction than the original post itself.

As one can expect, the crypto community on X reacted vividly, with people like crypto trader Jordan Fish, also known as Cobie, calling it a "legendary and respectable troll thread." Bloomberg Litigation Analyst Elliott Stein also commented on the misleading tweet, suggesting that it might have been an intentional troll, given Gensler's known proclivity for these tactics.

Criticism also followed from various sectors, including Scott Johnsson, a general partner at Van Buren Capital, who criticized the focus of Gensler's post on enforcement actions, likening it to a Department of Justice emphasis on incarcerations. This definitely reflects broader criticisms from the U.S. crypto industry and some lawmakers who accuse Gensler of adopting a "regulation by enforcement" approach, especially when it comes to the classification of cryptocurrencies as securities.

Despite these controversies, Gensler has maintained a firm stance on the need for the crypto industry to comply with existing regulations, repeatedly stating that the sector is rife with fraud and manipulation.

Although he was appointed by President Joe Biden in 2021, Gensler's tenure could potentially extend until April of 2026, but it is customary for the SEC chair to resign with the election of a new president. With upcoming presidential elections on Nov. 5, this tradition could affect his continued leadership depending on the election's outcome.

Warren Calls for Tougher Stablecoin AML Laws

Meanwhile, another political figure has the crypto community talking. United States Senator Elizabeth Warren has once again brought up the need for strict Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) measures in stablecoin regulation. In a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Warren voiced her support for legislative efforts to enhance AML/CFT frameworks in the stablecoin sector, which is valued at around $157 billion. This stance aligns with her comments during Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo’s testimony before the Senate Banking Committee on Apr. 9.

Adeyemo talked about various Treasury proposals that are aimed at expanding its sanctions capabilities, including those targeting blockchain validator node operators. In response to existing regulatory gaps, the Treasury outlined enhanced enforcement goals in a document, referred to by Warren as a "letter to Congress" from November 2023. Warren is looking forward to potential legislation from House Finance Committee chair Patrick McHenry and ranking member Maxine Waters, which she hopes will incorporate the comprehensive AML tools that were outlined by the Treasury.

Meanwhile, some criticisms have emerged, like from Taylor Barr who is a Senior Policy Associate at the Digital Chamber. He stated on X that Warren's focus omits important aspects of consumer protection and regulatory enforcement included in the Lummis-Gillibrand bill.

Gillibrand and Lummis Introduce Stablecoin Regulation Bill

Warren is not alone in her fight for stablecoin regulation. U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Cynthia Lummis recently introduced a legislative proposal that plans to regulate payment stablecoins. The bill, which is known as the Lummis-Gillibrand Payment Stablecoin Act, seeks to establish strict regulations for stablecoins, specifically targeting those that are unbacked or algorithmic, like TerraUSD which experienced huge instability in 2022. The legislation mandates that all stablecoin issuers maintain one-to-one reserves and establishes both state and federal regulatory frameworks to govern these entities.

The proposed act is designed to prevent the criminal use of stablecoins, boost consumer protection, and uphold the dominance of the U.S. dollar by fostering responsible innovation in the financial sector. Both senators believe in the importance of collaboration with federal and state agencies to draft this robust regulatory framework. The bill also specifies that state non-depository trust companies could issue up to $10 billion in stablecoins, with no upper limit for those issued under a limited-purpose state charter.

The act certainly aligns with ongoing legislative movements in the U.S. House of Representatives, which has been considering similar regulations through the Clarity for Payment Stablecoins Act.

PAC Funding in House Races

A political action committee (PAC) named Protect Progress has greatly influenced Democratic primaries in Alabama and Texas by spending around $3.7 million to support candidates favoring progressive stances on blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies. This investment is a very strategic push to cultivate pro-tech voices in the Democratic Party ahead of the 2025 United States House of Representatives races.

In Alabama, Shomari Figures emerged victorious in the Democratic runoff for the 2nd Congressional District on Apr. 16, securing about 61% of the vote against Anthony Daniels. Figures, who has been a vocal supporter of innovation and addressing regulatory concerns related to digital assets, benefited from approximately $1.7 million in support from Protect Progress.

This Super PAC, which gets its funding from big name crypto companies like Coinbase and Ripple Labs, wants to position the U.S. as a leader in the next generation of internet technologies. Figures is slated to compete against Republican Caroleene Dobson in the general elections on Nov. 5.

Similarly, in Texas, Protect Progress spent about $1 million to back Julie Johnson in the Democratic primary for the state’s 32nd Congressional District, which she narrowly won with 50.4% of the vote. Johnson's campaign, which raised $1.3 million on its own, also champions the U.S. as a leader in crypto and blockchain technology and is advocating for more regulatory frameworks.

This kind of strategy is nothing new as both Figures and Johnson's campaigns reflect the broader trend of PACs influencing electoral outcomes through large financial contributions and strategic support. This trend is also seen in the high-profile race between Senator Elizabeth Warren and John Deaton in Massachusetts, where debates over cryptocurrency regulation and innovation are central themes.

New Zealand Explores Digital Dollar

Countries outside of the US are also starting to embrace crypto and blockchain technology. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) launched a public consultation process, open for 101 days, to explore the design and potential introduction of a digital dollar. This initiative, which is part of a broader four-stage plan to issue a central bank digital currency (CBDC), is currently in its second phase, which focuses on high-level design options and related consultations.

On Apr. 17, the RBNZ released a consultation paper to gather feedback to try and figure out the appropriateness of digital cash for New Zealand. This paper discusses the need for a CBDC due to the declining cash usage among New Zealanders and stresses the importance of keeping pace with global central banks. It asks 12 questions covering personal opinions on the CBDC, its benefits, strategic design, and managed issuance, and also points out how a CBDC could drive innovation in the local payments sector.

The RBNZ is also preparing different formats of this consultation paper, which will be available in late May.

This move comes amid warnings from Andrew Bayly, the Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, about New Zealand’s cautious stance on digital asset innovation. Bayly criticized the country's "wait and see" approach, suggesting it risks missing out on the global digital asset industry.