U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Jay Clayton will leave his role at the end of this year.
Announced in a press release Monday, Clayton led the U.S. regulator for 3.5 years and through what the SEC called a "period of historic productivity and unprecedented challenges.
"Thanks to the hard work of the diverse and inclusive SEC team, we have improved investor protections, promoted capital formation for small and larger businesses, and enabled our markets to function more transparently and efficiently,” Clayton said in the announcement.
Regarding his role in the digital assets space, he told a Senate committee in 2019 that the SEC has taken "a measured, yet proactive regulatory approach that both fosters innovation and capital formation while protecting our investors and our markets."
The SEC has taken numerous actions against crypto initial coin offering (ICO) projects under his watch, though he has said token issuances can be an effective way to raise funds as long as the rules are followed.
Clayton's decision to step down comes ahead of an impending change of presidential administration in the White House.
While President-elect Joe Biden hasn't yet suggested a name for the SEC chairman role, his transition team members include Gary Gensler, former chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, suggesting the possibility of a stricter regulatory oversight under Biden's leadership.
At one point during the summer there was talk Clayton would become the next U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York after he was nominated by President Donald Trump for the role. Ultimately, that did not happen.
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.
Learn more about Consensus 2023, CoinDesk’s longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to consensus.coindesk.com to register and buy your pass now.