Gary Gensler, chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, said he believes the crypto market is growing more and more centralized.
Speaking at the annual meeting of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association on Oct. 24, Gensler said that the world of finance has tended towards centralization “since antiquity” and crypto is no exception.
“We’ve even seen centralization in the crypto market, which was founded on the idea of decentralization. This field actually has significant concentration among intermediaries in the middle of the market,” said Gensler.
In a question and answer session, Gensler suggested that it was highly likely that these centralized crypto platforms have listed some crypto tokens that could be classified as securities.
“As it relates to the intermediaries, the so-called crypto exchanges or lending platforms and the like, they’re highly centralized. They tend to have hundreds of tokens. It’s sort of beyond probabilities that there’s some securities tokens on them,” he said.
In his view, if an entity raises money from the public in anticipation of profit while calling it crypto, they must register with the regulator and maintain full and truthful disclosures.
While Gensler’s comments around crypto centralization may not sit well with industry proponents, there is no denying the dominant role that centralized crypto exchanges play in the current market.
According to research from crypto data provider Kaiko, decentralized exchanges account for only a fraction of the trading volume that their centralized counterparts command.
“Compared with just the top 3 CEXs (Binance, FTX, and Coinbase), Ethereum-based DEX market share in June was only 8%,” said Kaiko’s director of research Clara Medalie in July.
The CEOs of top crypto exchanges like FTX and Coinbase have come out in support of a draft bill that would give the Commodities and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) jurisdiction over most of crypto, which some have interpreted as a ban on DeFi.
Recent comments from Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), CEO of FTX, were scrutinized by the crypto community who believe that his take on enforcing front-end regulation on DeFi protocols would be harmful for the entire industry.
SBF addressed the backlash in an Oct. 23 tweet, where he said that the core goal of the bill was to regulate centralized venues while establishing how they interface with DeFi.
“In particular, it is *not* making claims about what DeFi devs, smart contracts, and validators must do. It’s looking to eventually establish guidelines about how e.g. FTX’s platform–or Fidelity’s–could interface with DeFi contracts,” said SBF.