SEC Cryptocurrency Enforcement: Q3 2021 Update

Under the Biden administration, the SEC continues to be active in policing the cryptocurrency space with 19 enforcement actions related to cryptocurrency brought in the first nine months of 2021.

Executive Summary

  • On April 17, 2021, Gary Gensler was sworn in as the chair of the SEC.1 Chair Gensler included crypto assets as one of the main areas to which he will direct SEC resources.2
  • In the first nine months of 2021, the SEC brought 19 enforcement actions related to cryptocurrency. Twelve were litigated in U.S. district courts (“litigations”), and seven were resolved within the SEC as administrative proceedings (“administrative proceedings”).
  • Cryptocurrency enforcement activity in Q1 2021 was largely in line with the activity in Q1 2020. In Q2 2021, enforcement activity slowed down as senior positions were filled under Chair Gensler.3 It bounced back in Q3 2021, with nine cryptocurrency enforcement actions
  • Since the first action in July 2013, the SEC has brought a total of 94 cryptocurrency enforcement actions as of September 30, 2021:
    • 55 litigations
    • 39 administrative proceedings