Crypto-Friendly CFTC Chairman Tarbert Intends to Resign 'Early Next Year'

CFTC Chairman Heath Tarbert intends to leave the role early in 2021, opening the door for President-elect Joe Biden to name a new top commodities regulator.

AccessTimeIconDec 10, 2020 at 3:34 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 10:41 a.m. UTC

Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Chairman Heath Tarbert announced Thursday he would resign early in 2021.

The crypto-friendly regulator took office last year, and has overseen an expansion of regulated crypto products in the derivatives space, including ether futures contracts and bitcoin options products. In a public statement, he noted that ether was declared a commodity under his tenure.

Tarbert has said in various public statements that he sees the potential for much of the financial system to build on top of blockchain platforms, like Ethereum.

"With the agenda I laid out last year now complete, the Commission can fully turn its focus to the unwritten future," he said in Thursday's announcement.

"A majority of our work has taken place in the midst of COVID-19, a global pandemic that is testing the strength of our markets and our ability to adapt. Amid historic volatility, the CFTC has provided a steady hand and watchful eye while our markets act as shock absorbers. There is no doubt in my mind this has been the CFTC’s 'finest hour' during our celebrated 45-year history," he said.

Tarbert did not provide a specific timeline for his departure, but he will leave as President-elect Joe Biden takes office after unseating incumbent President Donald Trump. Biden is already set to name a new Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chairperson after current one, Jay Clayton, announced he would depart at the end of 2020.

Biden may also name a new head for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Currently, the seat is filled by Acting Comptroller Brian Brooks, who has been nominated to serve a full five-year term with the agency.

UPDATE (Dec. 10, 2020, 16:04 UTC): Updated with additional information.


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