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