SEC reportedly probing crypto lending products by Gemini and Celsius
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is reportedly reviewing some of the high-yield crypto lending products offered by Gemini, Celsius Network and Voyager Digital.
According to a report published in Bloomberg, the SEC is conducting an inquiry into digital asset lending services. The main focus of the inquiry is reportedly around whether the crypto lending services could be considered securities and therefore must be registered with the commission.
Gemini and Celsius did not immediately respond to Cointelegraph’s request for comment.
The SEC’s main concern reportedly lies with the high-yield offering by crypto lending services which are often considerably higher than most saving banks. The interest rates offered by crypto lending services range anywhere from 3% to 18%, while traditional banks’ savings accounts offer less than 0.1%.
Banks’ savings accounts are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which means investors are protected against bank failure and theft. However, crypto lending services lend customers’ digital assets to other investors, which according to the SEC raises investor protection concerns. It is important to note that the SEC has not accused the firms of any wrongdoing.
Crypto lending services have faced a regulatory crackdown in the U.S. since September 2021. State regulators from New Jersey and Texas issued cease and desist orders against Celsius Network.
In October 2021, the New York Attorney General (NYAG) office cracked down on Celsius and BlockFi, ordering them to close their services. The NYAG alleged wrongdoing and issued a cease and desist order against the platforms. Coinbase, the leading American crypto exchange had to shut their crypto yield product even before launch after SEC threatened a lawsuit.