It was the summer of 2021, when U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission chair Gary Gensler labeled cryptocurrencies an asset class straight out of the Wild West. In his speech at the Aspen Security Forum, he said that “this asset class is rife with fraud, scams, and abuse in certain applications.” 

Months later, “we’re deep in crypto winter,” said Morgan, Lewis & Bockius partner Ignacio A. Sandoval. “Winter has come and we’re seeing collapses.” Sandoval, who previously served as special counsel in the Office of Chief Counsel in the SEC’s division of Trading and Markets, describes Gensler as someone with a “very strong personality,” someone who “definitely has a rule-making agenda.” Sandoval says he believes the recent collapse of the trading platform FTX and the company’s ultimate indictment “gives Gensler a bit more ammunition.”