The SEC Just Appointed Its First-Ever Crypto Czar

Stan Higgins
Jun 4, 2018 at 19:54 UTC
Updated Jun 4, 2018 at 20:01 UTC
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One of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s leading officials on cryptocurrency and token sales has been named to a new senior advisory position.

The agency said Monday that Valerie Szczepanik will serve as associate director of the Division of Corporation Finance and senior advisor for digital assets and innovation, reporting to division director Bill Hinman.

According to the SEC, Szczepanik – who led its distributed ledger working group, as previously reported – will “coordinate efforts across all SEC Divisions and Offices regarding the application of U.S. securities laws to emerging digital asset technologies and innovations, including initial coin offerings and cryptocurrencies.”

“I am excited to take on this new role in support of the SEC’s efforts to address digital assets and innovation as it carries out its mission to facilitate capital formation, promote fair, orderly, and efficient markets, and protect investors, particularly Main Street investors,” Szczepanik said in a statement.

Her appointment comes during what is perhaps a pivotal point on the crypto front for the SEC. Many of the agency’s public-facing actions have focused on alleged scams and fraudulent behavior, while officials have also come out in support of a more balanced approach to regulation.

At the same time, the SEC has released multiple publications for investors in the past year and a half, including a report on the now-defunct TheDAO that stated securities laws “may apply” to some token sales. Some of the SEC’s efforts have been more light-hearted, including last month’s launch of a parody ICO website for “HoweyCoin.”

On Monday, SEC chairman Jay Clayton praised Szczepanik in a statement, stating that “Val is the right person to coordinate our efforts in this dynamic area that has both promise and risk.”

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