(Bloomberg) -- Crypto exchanges are set to be a primary focus of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s crackdown on digital assets in 2022.

SEC Chair Gary Gensler said on Wednesday that he’s hopeful that trading platforms will take steps in coming months to be more directly regulated by Washington’s financial regulators. The additional scrutiny is crucial for crytpo investors to get the types of protections they get when trading stocks or other assets, according to Gensler.

Read More: Crypto Exchanges Focus for Gensler as SEC Cracks Down on Tokens

“I’ve asked staff to look at every way to get these platforms inside the investor protection remit,” Gensler told reporters in a virtual press conference. “If the trading platforms don’t come into the regulated space, it’d be another year of the public being vulnerable.”

Gensler rattled the crypto industry last year, including when he argued that most tokens were akin to securities that should be covered by the SEC’s tough rules. Many coin enthusiasts, however, argue that the assets shouldn’t be subject to the same regulations that have long covered equities and bond trading. 

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