US Senate confirms Gary Gensler as Joe Biden's SEC chairman

The U.S. Senate has officially confirmed Gary Gensler as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The final tally was 53-45, falling largely along party lines. Opposition to Gensler's candidacy was limited throughout earlier proceedings; Republicans had made comments of concern for the US capital markets as part of general objections of the Biden administration's plans to make issues like climate change a greater part of the SEC's purview, but Gensler's credentials received broad respect. Gensler received a 14-10 committee vote in March that cleared the way for today's confirmation.

Gensler served as the chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission during the Obama years. In that capacity, he spearheaded the implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act, particularly the law's restrictions on the swaps market. Subsequently, Gensler joined the faculty of MIT, where he taught classes on subjects that included digital assets and blockchain technology.

The question of which cryptocurrencies qualify as securities is, therefore, a high stakes one. Consequently, the crypto industry has been monitoring Gensler's nomination process closely.

After a vote to move forward with that nomination on Tuesday evening, SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce released a new version of her planned safe harbor for initial coin offerings, a move that set the stage for more crypto-related deliberations within the U.S. securities market regulatory agency.

In the wake of Gensler's confirmation, the agency's existing commissioners issued a congratulatory statement.

"A warm congratulations to Gary Gensler on his Senate confirmation to become Chair of the SEC. He will be joining a dedicated staff that works tirelessly day in and day out on behalf of investors and our markets. We welcome him back to public service and look forward to working together to execute our vital mission," they said.