A four-year-old video of United States Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Genser giving praise to smart contract platform Algorand (ALGO) is circulating on Twitter following the SEC declaring that ALGO is an unregistered security.
In the video, Gensler referred to Algorand as a “great technology” while he was contemplating whether a “high performance” smart contract network would be capable of integrating an Uber or Lyft-like application on its platform.
ALGO is one of six tokens that Gensler claimed was an unregistered security in the SEC’s lawsuit against crypto trading platform Bittrex on April 17 that took issue with the Algorand Foundation's initial coin offering (ICO) of ALGO in June 2019.
Cryptocurrency researcher Mason Versluis was one of the first to highlight the video in an April 17 tweet criticizing Gensler for “shilling” ALGO, with others calling out the SEC chair for his apparent hypocrisy.
Gensler’s praise of Algorand was heard by an audience at a Massachusetts Institute of Technology () “Fintech Beyond Crisis” conference held on April 25, 2019.
Gensler worked as a professor of global economics and management at MIT prior to becoming the SEC’s chair, and he acknowledged former MIT colleague and Algorand founder Silvio Micali in the speech — who appeared to be in the crowd.
The video sparked Cinneamhain Ventures partner Adam Cochran to question the long-standing advice from Gensler for crypto firms to register with the regulator.
"Surely if there is a path to register, a world renown MIT professor who personally knows the Chairman of the SEC can figure it out," Cochran tweeted on April 17.
Fox Business reporter Eleanor Terrett expects Gensler to be questioned over his Algorand comments in his upcoming testimony before the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services on April 18.
Other critics choose to mock the situation at hand, highlighting the price decline of ALGO, which has seen a 93.8% decline since its launch, according to CoinGecko data.
It should be noted that ALGO didn’t hit the market until late June 2019, two months after Gensler’s speech.
Gensler stated in an April 17 tweet that it had been an “honor” to work at the SEC over the last two years and chose to highlight the 1,500 enforcement actions the regulator has undertaken since he’s been at the helm.
Gensler was sworn into office as SEC chair on April 17, 2021, after U.S. President Joe Biden’s nomination of Gensler was confirmed by the Senate on April 14, 2021.