On Monday, the Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) announced the name of the senior advisor who would lead the department for Digital Assets and Innovation, Valerie A. Szczepanik.
She will be working closely with the Division Director of the SEC, Bill Hinman.
This announcement comes as a turn-around in the SEC’s so-far completely anti-cryptocurrency stance. The announcement indicates that the regulating body is now open to the idea of cryptocurrencies or as it is known in official paralance, digital assets.
Szczepanik’s duties will include 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.
Chairman of the SEC Jay Clayton, who has so far been vehemently opposed to the idea of cryptocurrencies, in a statement said, “Valerie’s thought leadership in this area is recognized both within the Commission and across financial regulators in the United States and abroad. ith 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.”
Hinman added that the senior advisor recognized the legal implications of developments such as blockchain, distributed ledger technology, cryptocurrencies, Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), tokenized securities and other “digital instruments.”
Speaking on her appointment, Szczepanik said, “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. 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.”
Recently Clayton had lauded the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) for participating in “Operation Cryptosweep,” which to date has resulted in nearly 70 inquiries and investigations and 35 pending or completed enforcement actions related to ICOs or cryptocurrencies since the beginning of May.
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