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The Antichrist of the Crypto Universe

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October 13, 2022

SEC head Gary Gensler, who has made a project out of cracking down on crypto, reached an eye-catching settlement with professional celebrity and social media influencer Kim Kardashian on Oct 2. Kardashian will pay a $1 million fine and refrain from crypto promotions for three years for failing to disclose a $250,000 payment she received in return for promoting the crypto token EMAX on Instagram. EMAX tanked despite Kardashian’s efforts. Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor in the DOJ’s Securities & Commodities Fraud Section, now a trial lawyer with Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, said Kardashian’s fame and massive social media following put a bulls eye on her back. “She was a particularly easy target for the SEC because she is pursuing a second career as a lawyer and thus has an incentive to cooperate and reach a resolution with securities regulators,” he said. Gensler’s claim to jurisdiction over blockchain activity is a moat in the eye of the crypto industry, but an article in Politico argues that the settlement is a plus for crypto because it will create the perception that government regulation, which hard-core crypto enthusiasts reject out of hand, is purging scams. The article quotes Eric Soufer, crypto work leader at the public affairs firm Tusk Strategies, who sees the benefit of the settlement. He doesn’t expect his view to be widely shared. “Even if people respect something the SEC does,” Soufer said. “Gary Gensler is the Antichrist of the crypto universe.”

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