‘Crypto Dad’ Chris Giancarlo Knighted by French Government

The former chief of the U.S. CFTC and avowed crypto advocate was recognized by French President Emmanuel Macron in part for embracing “crypto finance.”

AccessTimeIconJun 28, 2022 at 5:51 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 3:42 p.m. UTC

The pen of a regulator may be mightier than the sword, J. Christopher Giancarlo has shown by stepping into the ranks of French knighthood in part for his support of cryptocurrencies.

Giancarlo, who once ran the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and wrote the book “CryptoDad: The Fight for the Future of Money,” has been appointed as a chevalier – French for “knight” – in the National Order of Merit, with the Monday ceremony noting his crypto background.

“This honor reflects the French authorities’ great respect for your understanding of financial markets and the potentials of crypto finance,” according to a letter sent to Giancarlo from the French ambassador to the U.S., Philippe Étienne, who presided over the ceremony at the diplomat’s Washington residence.

“As humbled as I am to have received the award, it was especially satisfying to do it in front of so many colleagues from my time in government and today, as well as my family and dear friends,” Giancarlo told CoinDesk.

Giancarlo, who’s now a lawyer at Willkie Farr & Gallagher and who also holds several board and advisory posts at crypto firms, stood before a crowd that included current CFTC Chairman Rostin Behnam and several other U.S. regulatory officials as he was granted entry into the French order.

This knighthood was founded in the last century to honor people who distinguish themselves in the military or civilian world, and includes 182,000 members globally, according to the organization's website. Giancarlo, who is a U.S. citizen descended from a French immigrant, was also recognized for his involvement in the French American Academy, a bilingual elementary school program.

In remarks at the ceremony, Giancarlo recalled his tenure at the CFTC, praising the agency’s early support of cryptocurrencies.

“Our willingness to brave political risk in greenlighting bitcoin futures reduced regulatory risk for lawful trading and investment,” he said. “Though another ‘crypto winter’ may be setting in, there is no question in my mind that the future of financial assets is as digital tokens.”

France boosted its crypto reputation when it granted Binance its first European regulatory license last month to operate a trading platform and take custody of digital assets. Extending a knighthood to a prominent U.S. crypto champion may further bolster that goodwill.


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Jesse Hamilton

Jesse Hamilton is CoinDesk's deputy managing editor for global policy and regulation. He doesn't hold any crypto.