Former Crypto-Friendly Regulator Quintenz Joins VC Firm A16z

Brian Quintenz stepped down from the CFTC at the end of August.

AccessTimeIconSep 10, 2021 at 3:47 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 6:36 p.m. UTC
10 Years of Decentralizing the Future
May 29-31, 2024 - Austin, TexasThe biggest and most established global event for everything crypto, blockchain and Web3.Register Now

Former crypto-friendly commodities regulator Brian Quintenz has joined venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) as a part-time adviser.

Announced Thursday, Quintenz becomes the latest high-profile addition to the firm, which has backed numerous projects in the tech and crypto industries. The prolific VC firm raised over $2 billion for its Crypto Fund III earlier this summer.

Quintenz said he was “thrilled” to join the company, saying the firm “has the acumen and pioneering vision” to build partnerships and drive a crypto revolution.

“The regulatory response to crypto innovation will be critical in whether an openly accessible, fully transparent, and decentralized value-creating financial ecosystem can be truly achieved. I’m excited to engage with both entrepreneurs and regulators to ensure that full potential can become a reality,” he said.

Quintenz, who stepped down from his role as one of the top officials at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) at the end of August, has long been a proponent of the crypto industry, suggesting that participants create self-regulatory organizations and sponsoring the agency’s Technology Advisory Committee during his tenure.

The regulator’s term officially expired in mid-2020, but government rules allowed him to stay on through the end of 2021.

Staffing up

A16z, which operates a number of dedicated crypto venture funds, has been rapidly expanding its team in recent months, particularly its crypto division. The firm has drawn from both the crypto industry as well as more traditional industries and government.

Quintenz joins the firm as the U.S. government ramps up its scrutiny of the still-growing crypto industry. The CFTC’s securities-focused counterpart, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), has recently indicated a renewed focus on regulating or bringing enforcement actions against newer sectors of the industry such as decentralized finance (DeFi).

SEC Chair Gary Gensler has said that U.S. regulators need more “plenary authority” to oversee trading, lending and DeFi platforms, citing a need for stronger investor protections.

Gensler has hinted that, in his view, all crypto trading platforms may need to fall under the SEC’s jurisdiction. Recent actions against Coinbase, of which a16z is a major backer, would seem to reflect that.

At present, there is no single federal regulator for spot crypto trading markets.

Quintenz has pushed back, tweeting that the SEC’s authority does not include commodities or commodity trading platforms, including crypto assets.

UPDATE (Sept. 9, 2021, 13:35 UTC): Updated with a statement from Brian Quintenz.

Disclosure

Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by Block.one; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.

Nikhilesh De

Nikhilesh De is CoinDesk's managing editor for global policy and regulation. He owns marginal amounts of bitcoin and ether.


Learn more about Consensus 2024, 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.



Read more about