SEC appoints cryptocurrency czar

June 05, 2018
Chris Wheal

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has announced the appointment of Valerie Szczepanik in a new role that will effectively be recognised as the country’s cryptocurrency czar.

Securities and Exchange Commission

Reporting to divisional director Bill Hinman, Szczepanik’s official title is associate director of the division of corporation finance and senior advisor for digital assets and innovation.

Co-ordinate crypto regulation

Her main role will be co-ordinate efforts across all SEC divisions and locations regarding the enforcement of US securities laws on the growing world of digital assets and the technologies and innovations that evolve around them.

This will include the oversight of initial coin offerings (ICOs) and cryptocurrencies. The SEC is particularly concerned about the growing number of scam ICOs – so much so, that last month it launched a fake ICO website of its own to show would-be investors what such a scam looks like.

“We embrace new technologies, but we also want investors to see what fraud looks like, so we built this educational site with many of the classic warning signs of fraud,” said SEC chairman Jay Clayton.

Clayton welcomed Szczepanik, who has been with the SEC since 1997, to the team, saying: “Valerie’s thought leadership in this area is recognised both within the Commission and across financial regulators in the United States and abroad.”

Investor protection

He added: “With her demonstrated skill, experience, and keen awareness of the importance of fostering innovation while ensuring investor protection, Val is the right person to co-ordinate our efforts in this dynamic area that has both promise and risk.”

Szczepanik is will remain head of the SEC’s distributed ledger technology working group, which examines the developments in blockchain technology. She will also continue as co-head of the dark web working group and a member of the fintech working group.

“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,” she said.

Post written by Chris Wheal
Chris Wheal is editor of OpenLedger's news and features service. An award-wining business journalists himself, he runs a team of freelance journalists from across the UK and north America.

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