Gensler is a traditionalist in the sense that he believes the laws currently governing the market, which date back to the Great Depression, are sufficient to handle modern inventions like bitcoin. There’s no need to rewrite the rules: The crypto exchanges should register with the government, regulators can decide whether various digital coins are actually securities (like stocks) by applying the historic standard known as the Howey Test, and discourse on Reddit isn’t so different from the early days of radio. He enjoys making references to antiquity.
You were nominated at close to the height of meme-stock mania, when it looked as if the markets had gone totally nuts. What were you thinking as you waited to get confirmed? I was thinking of it in terms of regular investors. Neither of my parents went to college, and I’m deeply a markets person; I don’t know what it is. My dad had a small business serving the bars of Baltimore — cigarettes, pinball tables, jukeboxes. He would toss us Value Line tear sheets when I was in middle school and say, “What do you think?” He never had much money, but he might buy 50 shares of something. So I thought of it in January as I think of it now — How is it playing out for retail investors?