US SEC Creates New Senior Advisor Position Dedicated to Digital Assets

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US SEC Appoints Advisor for Digital Assets and Innovation

On June 4, the SEC appointed Valerie A. Szczepanik as the Senior Advisor for Digital Assets and Innovation, a new advisory position created to overlook cryptocurrencies and ICOs. Specifically, the Senior Advisor will work across SEC divisions to evaluate how digital assets and their technology factor into existing securities laws.

In addition to this role, Szczepanik has also been named Associate Director of the Division of Corporation Finance. She’ll be under the auspice of Division Director Bill Hinman.

“Valerie’s thought leadership in this area is recognized both within the Commission and across financial regulators in the United States and abroad. 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,”  SEC Chairman Jay Clayton said.

Chairman Clayton has made a concerted effort in 2018 to explore cryptocurrency’s regulatory ramifications. Along with the CFTC and its Chairman, Christopher Giancarlo, the SEC and Clayton appeared before the Senate for a hearing on blockchain, cryptocurrencies, and ICOs in February of this year. The testimony paid special attention to the impact of existing financial laws on the burgeoning asset class and its technology.

Szczepanik’s new Senior Advisory position is the latest in the SEC’s attempts to mature its cryptocurrency strategy and work towards clarifying how digital assets will affect or be affected by federal regulations.

“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,” Ms. Szczepanik stated in commented on her new position.  “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.”

Valerie A. Szczepanik began working at the SEC in 1997, and she’ll start her new position after serving as an Assistant Director in the Division of Enforcement’s Cyber Unit. She is also a member of the SEC’s FinTech Working Group, heads the SEC’s Distributed Ledger Technology Working Group, and co-directs its Dark Web Working Group.







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