Digital Assets: Crypto Industry Agog With Anticipation on Jay Clayton’s Exit From the SEC

June 22, 2020 | Digital Assets, News

Will the clouds part for the long-delayed Bitcoin ETF?

On Friday, June 19, Attorney General William P. Barr announced that President Trump intended to nominate Jay Clayton, currently the Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, to serve as the next United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York (SDNY).

Clayton will replace Geoffrey Berman, Barr said. Berman was “stepping down after two-and-a-half years of service as United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.”

Clayton’s appointment as the United States Attorney for SDNY will have to be ratified by the Senate. Till that time, Clayton will continue in his SEC position. (

Barely three months into his presidentship, in March 2017, Trump had fired Preet Bharara, the then United States Attorney for SDNY. Friday’s sacking of Berman is, therefore, Trump’s second of an incumbent in that powerful office.

Meanwhile, crypto chatter reveals hope for a bitcoin ETF

Barr was fulsome in his appreciation of Clayton’s tenure at the SEC: “For the past three years, Jay has been an extraordinarily successful SEC Chairman, overseeing efforts to modernize the regulation of the capital markets, protect Main Street investors, enhance American competitiveness, and address challenges ranging from cybersecurity issues to the COVID-19 pandemic.  His management experience and expertise in financial regulation give him an ideal background to lead the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, and he will be a worthy successor to the many historic figures who have held that post.”

Clayton has never served as a prosecutor, nor has he ever litigated a case, according to the FT.

However, the crypto world was more focused on what its future held on Clayton’s departure. Clayton has always been a votary of tighter regulation around bitcoin.

“Whatever else, Jay Clayton leaving the SEC is a win for crypto and sound money fans across the world,” tweeted Michael Arrington, founder of Techcrunch, Crunchbase, and Arrington XRP Capital. “Hopefully he does less damage as a US Atty.”

Galaxy Digital CEO and billionaire investor Mike Novogratz tweeted this:

“The SEC chair is one of the most important U.S. officials for crypto regulation,” tweeted Jake Chervinsky, general counsel at Compound and an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center. “Chairman Clayton’s replacement will have a massive impact on the industry (for better or worse). Our chance at ETF approval & clarity on a wide range of issues for years to come hangs in the balance.”

Under Clayton’s lead, the SEC has rejected every application for the launch of a bitcoin ETF so far. Clayton’s pet peeves are efficient price discovery, custody, and price manipulation.

Related Story:   A New WisdomTree Alternative ETF Will Invest in Bitcoin

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