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Anthony Scaramucci: Here’s the real reason behind Gary Gensler’s ‘I hate crypto’ stance

Anthony Scaramucci: Here’s the real reason behind Gary Gensler’s ‘I hate crypto’ stance
Anthony Scaramucci has thoughts on why Gary Gensler is opposed to Bitcoin. Credit: Michael Reynolds/EPA/Shutterstock
  • Skybridge Capital founder Anthony Scaramucci said Gary Gensler is motivated by aspirations to become Treasury Secretary.
  • Gensler has previously said most cryptocurrencies should be considered securities.
  • Other industry proponents have previously called out Gensler’s actions as politically driven.

Anthony Scaramucci, founder of SkyBridge Capital, says he has long suspected the real reason why Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler takes a hard line on crypto.

In a panel discussion during the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos last month, Scaramucci said that despite Gensler’s public stance against cryptocurrency, he is, at heart, a crypto believer.

Scaramucci said he believes the real reason for Gensler’s harsh stance is due to his aspirations to become Treasury Secretary under a potential second term in President Joe Biden’s administration.

“‘Gary, you want to be Secretary of the Treasury?’ ‘Yes, I do.’ ‘You now hate crypto?’ ‘Yes, I do. I hate crypto,’” said Scaramucci, mock imitating a conversation between the SEC chair and government officials.

“Go watch 24 hours of his lectures at MIT,” Scaramucci continued, referring to Massachusetts Institute of Technology where Gensler taught a course on blockchain. “He does not hate crypto.”

Gensler and Scaramucci did not immediately return a request for comment.

“He understands the technology,” Scaramucci said. “He’s a Bitcoin maximalist. If you really read what he’s saying. But we have politics now interfering in the regulatory forces in the US.”

A Bitcoin maximalist is an individual who believes that Bitcoin, the first and largest cryptocurrency by market capitalisation, is superior to all other digital currencies and blockchain projects.

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Before his appointment as chair of the SEC, Gensler spent a few decades at Goldman Sachs and worked at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

He then became a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management from 2018 to 2020.

His courses on blockchain technology, digital currencies, and financial technology covered topics related to the implications of cryptocurrencies for the financial industry.

Some in the crypto industry rejoiced when President Joe Biden nominated Gensler to the top job in 2021.

Surely someone who had taught about crypto at a prestigious university would be in their camp, those optimists’ thoughts went.

Gensler unceremoniously dispelled them of that impression by firing off a barrage of 66 enforcement actions against the industry in the years since he was appointed.

This, to some, suggests that Gensler has adopted a common Wall Street attitude where he is supportive of blockchain as a technology rather than being pro-Bitcoin as an asset.

Political ambitions

Scaramucci’s comments echo Ark Invest’s Cathie Wood, who, in November, also said Gensler had political ambitions for the government’s top financial role.

It’s also the reason why many in the industry have long suspected Gensler repeatedly denied approval for spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds until they were greenlit on January 10.

To be sure, Janet Yellen, Treasury Secretary under Biden, has not announced plans to retire or step down from her post.

The SEC told Bloomberg in January that suggestions of Gensler’s supposed Treasury Secretary ambitions are a tactic from opponents to discredit his policies.

“As Chair Gensler has said multiple times, he couldn’t be more honoured to be the SEC chair,” the agency told Bloomberg at the time.

‘Technology-neutral’

Gensler has previously said most cryptocurrencies outside Bitcoin should be classified as securities under existing laws and, therefore, be subject to his agency’s oversight.

Cryptocurrency proponents, including Coinbase, have consistently pushed back, calling Gensler’s attempts to regulate by enforcement actions against industry startups and established players as an abuse of power.

The US’ only publicly-listed cryptocurrency exchange was sued by the SEC on June 6, claiming Coinbase had illegally listed 13 various digital assets without first registering them as securities.

Gensler has signalled that platforms facilitating specific crypto trades were not complying with US regulations since at least as early as 2021.

“As a policy matter, I’m technology-neutral,” Gensler said in his August 2021 remarks before the Aspen Security Forum. “As a personal matter, I wouldn’t have gone to MIT if I weren’t interested in how technology can expand access to finance and contribute to economic growth.”

“But I am anything but public policy-neutral. As new technologies come along, we need to be sure we’re achieving our core public policy goals,” Gensler said at the time.

Sebastian Sinclair is a markets correspondent for DL News. Have a tip? Contact Seb at sebastian@dlnews.com.