SEC faces fierce battle against crypto’s legal firepower

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s legal battles against cryptocurrency firms, once likened to David versus Goliath, now resemble Godzilla versus King Kong, given the industry’s growth to a $2.5-trillion market.

With the SEC continuing to open up new fronts in its war on crypto, some are now wondering if it has spread itself too thin and has the legal resources needed to fight so many court cases at once against the industry’s largest players. 

“The fact that these [enforcement actions against crypto firms] are all going on at one time is very significant and absolutely puts a strain on the agency,” says Scott Mascianica, partner and head of government investigations and regulatory enforcement at Hilgers Graben law firm.

Members of the legal community tell Magazine that the SEC may be facing resource constraints, travel budget cuts and reduced funds available to pursue matters as aggressively as they could before the onset of numerous crypto-focused litigations.

The SEC declined to comment on the subject in response to Magazine’s requests.

SEC has a large budget and considerable legal resources

But it’s not the SEC’s first day on the job. Wall Street’s top regulator has been a highly litigious watchdog in the 90 years since its establishment in 1934. Its recent $2.6-billion budget request for the 2025 fiscal year aims to add to its war chest, and it doesn’t usually pick fights that it plans to lose.

But the large volume of crypto prosecutions may be due to an unusual set of circumstances. Some believe the recent increase in Wells notices may be tied to the looming end of SEC Chair Gary Gensler’s term, which ends in mid-2026. With polls suggesting a change of government is certainly possible in November’s U.S. presidential election, there’s every chance he will not be reappointed for another term to see his crypto crackdown policies through to completion.

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