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Hypocrisy Exposed: Gary Gensler Says Cryptos are Not Securities in Lecture

2 mins
Updated by Kyle Baird
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In Brief

  • A 2018 MIT lecture has exposed the hypocrisy.
  • Just 5 years ago Gensler told students cryptocurrencies were not classified as securities.
  • A growing number of politicians and executives are calling for his removal.
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Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chair Gary Gensler hasn’t always been anti-crypto. In fact, an old video reveals him asserting that most crypto assets are commodities.

A video has emerged on crypto Twitter of Gary Gensler lecturing at a blockchain course in 2018. At the time, Gensler was the professor of a graduate MIT course called “Blockchain and Money.”

Less than five years ago, this is what he told students:

“So we already know in the U.S. and in many other jurisdictions that three quarters of the market are not ICOs or NOT what would be called securities.”

He also said that this non-security classification applies in the three jurisdictions that use the Howey Test (the U.S., Canada, and Taiwan.)

“Three-quarters of the market is non-securities. It is just a commodity, a cash crypto.”

Gary Gensler: A Massive U-Turn

ICOs are initial coin offerings, a method that crypto firms used to raise money for their projects during the 2017 bull market. The following bear market year saw a regulatory crackdown on them across the United States.

At the lecture, he said that the debate over whether ICOs are securities “is not particularly relevant as a legal or regulatory matter” for most of the market.

Fast forward five years.

Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong re-tweeted the video, simply exclaiming, “Wow!”

Gensler has made a full U-turn on what he told MIT scholars at the course in 2018. In 2023 he repeatedly claimed that every crypto asset aside from Bitcoin is a security. His agency has also cracked down on pretty much everything related to digital assets, from staking to stablecoins.

It is not the first time Gensler has done an about-face. Footage has emerged of him talking up Algorand (ALGO) and its technology. Yet, in a recent enforcement action against Bittrex, he labeled ALGO and several other tokens as securities.  

On April 16, Congressman Warren Davidson proposed new legislation to oust Gary Gensler and replace him with an SEC director.

A growing number of U.S. lawmakers and crypto industry executives have joined the call to remove him from the position. They also urge Congress to roll out regulations to prevent Gensler and the SEC from taking the law into their own hands.

Why Is the SEC So Anti-Crypto?

One common theory is that Wall Street and big bankers largely control the financial regulator and political players. Therefore, it needs to act in their interests. Crypto is the antithesis of banking and traditional finance, where third parties and intermediaries make money from other people’s money.

Furthermore, crypto is a clear and present threat to this archaic traditional finance system which is yet again teetering on the edge of collapse.


In adherence to the Trust Project guidelines, BeInCrypto is committed to unbiased, transparent reporting. This news article aims to provide accurate, timely information. However, readers are advised to verify facts independently and consult with a professional before making any decisions based on this content.

Martin Young
Martin has been covering the latest developments on cyber security and infotech for two decades. He has previous trading experience and has been actively covering the blockchain...