SEC Moves on Cryptocurrencies with Announcement of Senior Advisor for Digital Assets and Innovation

Jun 6, 2018 | News

On Monday, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced the appointment of Valerie Szczepanik as Associate Director of the Division of Corporation Finance and Senior Advisor for Digital Assets and Innovation. In the new position, Ms. Szczepanik will be responsible for coordinating efforts regarding the application of U.S. Securities laws to emerging digital asset technologies and innovations, including Initial Coin Offerings and cryptocurrencies.

Ms. Szczepanik has been with the SEC since 1997, most recently serving as Assistant Director in the Division of Enforcement’s Cyber Unit. Additionally, she serves as the head of the SEC’s Distributed Ledger Technology Working Group, Co-Head of its Dark Web Working Group, and a member of its FinTech Working Group. The new role was newly created this week.

For some time, the SEC has been moving toward taking a more active role in the emerging and quickly growing cryptocurrency markets, with a robust debate over whether cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin fall under the definition of a security. Earlier this year, the SEC sent the clearest sign yet that they viewed digital assets like cryptocurrencies – and the exchanges trading them – as falling under their purview.

“Valerie recognized early on the securities law implications of developments like blockchain and distributed ledger technologies, and of cryptocurrencies, Initial Coin Offerings, tokenized securities, and other digital instruments,” said Bill Hinman, Director of the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance, in a statement announcing the appointment.

In the same statement, Ms. Szczepanik added, “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.”

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