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SEC Names its First Advisor on Cryptocurrencies

By NexChange
Capital Markets, FinTech

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced this week that it has named Valerie A. Szczepanik as Associate Director of the Division of Corporation Finance and Senior Advisor for Digital Assets and Innovation, making her the agency’s first advisor on cryptocurrencies.

In the newly created position Szczepanik will be charged with coordinating “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,” the SEC said in a statement. She will be reporting to Bill Hinman, director of the Division of Corporation Finance.

“Valerie’s thought leadership in this area is recognized both within the Commission and across financial regulators in the United States and abroad,” SEC Chairman Jay Clayton said in a statement. “With her demonstrated skill, experience, and keen awareness of the importance of fostering innovation while ensuring investor protection, Val is the right person to coordinate our efforts in this dynamic area that has both promise and risk.”

Szczepanik’s appointment comes at a time when regulators across the globe have been ramping up scrutiny of cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings. At an open session in January before the Senate’s Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, Clayton – who was joined at the hearing by J. Christopher Giancarlo, chairman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission – told Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) that “we may be back with our friends from the Treasury and the Fed to ask you for additional legislation.”

Szczepanik joined the SEC in 1997 and most recently served as an Assistant Director in the Division of Enforcement’s Cyber Unit.

“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 in a statement. “I look forward to working closely with staff across the agency, our regulatory partners, and the public as we provide a coordinated and strategic response to developments.”

Photo: Getty iStock


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