Crypto investors wary as Coinbase fight heats up, regulators circle
There's a storm brewing between the booming cryptocurrency sector and regulators charged with overseeing a white-hot industry, where potential risks to investors are proliferating almost as fast as new products. Tuesday's Senate testimony by newly appointed Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Gary Gensler did little to shed light on a number of crypto-related controversies — including an evolving battle with Coinbase, the premier crypto trading platform trying to offer a new lending product. However, the SEC chief faced pointed questions on how far the agency was willing to go to impose order on the Wild West of trading and product creation in a digital currency sector that prides itself on decentralization, efficiency and the empowerment of small investors. For his part, Gensler said "this asset class is rife with fraud, scams, and abuse in certain applications. We can do better." That point was illustrated on Monday, when a fraudulent press release touting a partnership between Walmart (WMT) and Litecoin (LTC-USD) moved the market before the retail giant shot it down.