BALTIMORE — Appearing before the students of George Washington High School, SEC Chair Gary Gensler called NFTs a “gateway token” during his speech about the dangers of crypto. “So you think it’s safe to just buy an NFT,” began Gensler to his half-awake audience, “but suddenly, you’ve left the familiarity of bank fees and overdraft charges for the clutches of DeFi.”
The talk at Washington was one stop on a campaign called “Just Say No to Crypto, Bro”, which Gensler designed to warn younger generations about cryptocurrency. The “asset, security, currency, or other”, according to Gensler, “is a threat to the youth of this country, who often begin with an NFT or two, then move on to worse things like investing in Cardano.”
Critics of the messaging point out that NFTs and cryptocurrency aren’t addictive and that there are better things to warn youth about, like drugs and big banks. Still, they admit that buying an NFT could lead to buying cryptocurrency, as Gensler proclaims.
Back at Washington, phones are scrolling as Gensler addresses the distracted high schoolers. “You don’t want to end up like poor Finley Putterman,” he notes about a Hoboken teenager who bought an NFT, then crypto, and “all of a sudden was saying terrible things to his parents like ‘gm’ and ‘hodl’.”
Gensler is also taking action at home, telling his children that they aren’t allowed to buy NFTs. His children are all over the age of 30 and are currently unaware of what NFTs are.