US SEC Hiring Attorneys for Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit

Regulators in the United States have been ramping up their efforts to regulate the crypto space, and the latest move from the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is no exception. The SEC has announced that it is seeking to hire general attorneys for its Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit in the Division of Enforcement. This unit is responsible for enforcing laws and regulations governing the use of crypto assets and cyber issues.

The job posting, which is available on the official government website, states that the successful candidates will be responsible for conducting “complex, fast-moving investigations” involving crypto asset securities and cyber issues. They will also be required to draft subpoenas or document requests, question witnesses through interviews, evaluate evidence and more.

This announcement comes shortly after the SEC’s chairman, Gary Gensler, asked for nearly $2.4 billion in funding to help the agency chase down crypto “misconduct” on March 29. This move highlights the regulatory pressure that the crypto community has been facing in the United States over the last year.

The crackdown on the crypto industry by US regulators has been ongoing, with local regulators planning to introduce new taxes directed towards the industry. Some industry insiders are concerned that these and other regulations could “choke” the industry and prevent much-needed innovation.

The Beaxy cryptocurrency exchange recently shut down after the SEC filed multiple charges against the company’s founder. Japan-based decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) Sushi is also facing a subpoena from the SEC. These actions demonstrate the SEC’s commitment to enforcing regulations governing the use of crypto assets.

However, not everyone in positions of regulatory authority is on board with the SEC’s approach. Congressman Tom Emmer has called Gensler a “bad faith regulator” and questioned his methods of industry oversight. Emmer’s comments highlight the ongoing debate about the appropriate level of regulation for the crypto industry.

In conclusion, the SEC’s move to hire general attorneys for its Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit in the Division of Enforcement is a clear sign that the agency is taking the regulation of the crypto industry seriously. This move follows a string of regulatory actions against crypto companies, and the ongoing debate about the appropriate level of regulation is likely to continue. The future of the crypto industry in the United States remains uncertain, but it is clear that regulators are not backing down from their efforts to enforce the law.

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Iran seems to be attempting to ban foreign-mined cryptocurrencies for payments

In a broader effort to circumvent the effects of sanctions, Iran may be attempting one of the first instances of digital currency protectionism. 

According to a Tweet from news outlet Iran International, The Central Bank of Iran announced a decision from the Cabinet on Wednesday decreeing that digital currencies traded in the country must have been mined, or “extracted” there as well, barring the exchange of digital assets mined abroad.

While many observers have pointed out that enforcement would be nearly impossible, blockchain lawyer and advisor Fatemeh Fannizadeh noted that the ban may be aimed primarily at banks and forex entities using crypto to pay for imports:

In late April, the Central Bank of Iran ratified regulations that will allow banks and other financial institutions use crypto to pay for imports. Under that framework, institutions can use crypto from state-licensed mining operations for purchases. This new regulation appears aimed at ensuring that only crypto mined from approved farms will be used for imports. 

Since 2019, regulators have issued over a thousand licenses for crypto mining facilities, including a Turkish-run 6,000-rig farm.

The new laws may be part of a larger sanctions strategy years in the making. Iranian research institute Majlis Research Center has been calling on the country to use cryptocurrency to circumvent crippling economic sanctions as far back as 2018, where they wrote in one report that digital assets could be leveraged for international trade:

“According to experts, one way to avoid the adverse effects of the unjust sanctions is to use cryptocurrencies for foreign trade.”

Despite these new efforts at creating a state-sanction crypto import payments pipeline, Iran’s relationship with digital assets has been at times rocky over the last few months. In January, officials blamed widespread power outages on illegal crypto mining facilities, though experts said that decaying and long-ignored infrastructure was more likely to blame.