The U.S. President-elect Joe Biden confirmed today that he would appoint Gary Gensler as the new chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Gensler is replacing acting Chair Elad Roisman, after Jay Clayton — who led the SEC from May 2017 — stepped down on Dec. 23.
Gensler spent nearly 20 years at Goldman Sachs in the 1980s and 1990s before joining the Clinton administration as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury. He later served as a key financial regulator for former President Barack Obama.
As the chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission from 2009 to 2014, Gensler spearheaded the passing of the Dodd-Frank law in 2010, which was intended to prevent another financial crisis.
In recent months, Gensler advocated for a nationwide regulatory oversight of the crypto industry.
“If it gets broad adoption, if we really think the crypto world is going to be part of the future, it needs to come inside of public policy envelope,” Gensler said in a Bloomberg TV interview in 2018. “That means we need to guard against illicit activity. And yes, we need to protect investors. The crypto exchanges, big exchanges like Coinbase, need to come within the SEC or the CFTC.”
The Wall Street veteran is also known for his statements about XRP being a security, which means that the SEC’s crusade against Ripple, the company behind the token, is likely to continue.
However, as some experts suggest, Gensler’s appointment could spell good news for the ill-fated bitcoin ETFs.
“Gary Gensler deeply understands crypto & has strongly supported bitcoin for years. His selection as SEC chair signals a policy shift in favor of a bitcoin ETF. He also went on record in 2018 saying there’s “a strong case” that XRP is a security, signaling no shift on that issue,” Jake Chervinsky, a lawyer and general counsel to decentralized finance startup Compound, said in a recent tweet.
Gary Gensler deeply understands crypto & has strongly supported bitcoin for years. His selection as SEC chair signals a policy shift in favor of a bitcoin ETF.— Jake Chervinsky (@jchervinsky) January 12, 2021
He also went on record in 2018 saying there’s “a strong case” that XRP is a security, signaling no shift on that issue.
In 2018, Gensler taught a course at MIT on how bitcoin and blockchain could be used in finance. Later he also authored an op-ed for Coindesk, describing cryptocurrency as a “catalyst for change.”
“Shared blockchain applications might help jumpstart multiparty network solutions in fields that historically have been fragmented or resilient to change. Even in this slightly less ambitious form—acting as an innovative irritant to incumbents and traditional technologies—cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology have already prompted real change and can continue to do so,” he wrote in 2019.
Currently, Gensler is a professor of the Practice of Global Economics and Management at MIT Sloan School of Management, co-director of MIT’s [email protected] and senior advisor to the MIT Digital Currency Initiative, researching artificial intelligence, blockchain technology, and new financial technologies.
This story originally appeared in Decrypt, a Forkast.News syndication partner, and appears here with additional updates by Forkast.News.