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US lawmakers press SEC and FINRA on Prometheum’s broker-dealer approval

US lawmakers press SEC and FINRA on Prometheum's broker-dealer approval


United States lawmakers on the House Financial Services Committee have demanded answers from the heads of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) regarding under what circumstances Prometheum obtained a special purpose broker-dealer license (SPBD).

In separate letters dated Aug. 9, House committee chair Patrick McHenry and 20 other members wrote to SEC chair Gary Gensler and FINRA president and CEO Robert Cook. The lawmakers questioned the “timing and circumstances” of FINRA approving Prometheum’s SPBD as they were continuing to consider legislative solutions to regulatory gaps on digital assets.

“While Prometheum claims it is the silver bullet for regulated digital asset offerings, it has not yet served a single customer,” claimed the lawmakers. “It is unclear why FINRA would have chosen to approve a firm with no operating history and no track record of serving customers over all the applications that it has received.”

Related: Blockchain Association calls for investigation into Prometheum over alleged ‘sweetheart’ SEC deal

Prometheum, founded in 2017, had been largely unknown to many members of the crypto space prior to its co-founder and co-CEO Aaron Kaplan testifying before the House committee in June. The firm received an SPBD in May, prompting many crypto advocacy groups and lawmakers to question its products and services, and in some cases call for an investigation.

The House committee members requested the SEC and FINRA provide documents and communication records related to Prometheum’s SPBD before Aug. 22. In addition, the lawmakers called on FINRA to answer specific questions related to Prometheum, alleging the firm may have had ties to the Chinese Communist Party.

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