Former SEC Chairman-Turned-Crypto Advisor Defends Move to Private Sector
Clayton told Blockworks that he hadn’t expected to be involved in companies in the digital asset space when he left his government position in December 2020
- Clayton is not alone in his move from government into the crypto industry as a handful of former government employees have shifted to the field
- Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse wrote, “Mr. Clayton stifled the crypto industry while in office, yet now he calls for the government to facilitate the adoption of the technology”
Former US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Jay Clayton has been in the crosshairs of crypto enthusiasts after joining the advisory boards of two crypto companies, Fireblocks and One River Digital Asset Management, months after charging Ripple and two executives with conducting an unregistered securities offering during his last days in office in 2020.
But Clayton told Blockworks that he hadn’t expected to be involved in companies in the digital asset space when he left his government position in December 2020. He said he agreed to advise those organizations because, after being introduced to and talking in-depth with the founders, he was impressed by their understanding of and approach to the modernization of financial infrastructure.
The SEC’s action against Ripple Labs and its CEO Brad Garlinghouse and Chairman Christian Larsen set off a sharp slide in the firm’s cryptocurrency, XRP — although Garlinghouse said the ensuing year was Ripple’s strongest ever, Blockworks previously reported.
Clayton’s move against Ripple also infuriated many of its supporters who demanded answers on how XRP was considered a security by the SEC, while other cryptocurrencies like ether were not being charged.
“I think if you look at the body of work the SEC has done, there is a consistent theme,” he said.
Clayton is not alone in his move from government into the crypto industry. The space has embraced a handful of former government employees including the former acting comptroller of the US Currency, Brian Brooks, who joined Voyager Digital’s board of directors in December 2021 after a stint at Binance.US.
In December 2021, Clayton wrote in an opinion piece for the “Wall Street Journal” that America’s future depends on the blockchain and time is of the essence for the US to adopt this technology.
In a follow-up to the op-ed in the WSJ, Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse wrote, “Mr. Clayton stifled the crypto industry while in office, yet now he calls for the government to facilitate the adoption of the technology.”
A Ripple spokesperson declined Blockworks’ request for further comment but referred to a recent tweet from Garlinghouse as well as his WSJ op-ed.
Get the day’s top crypto news and insights delivered to your inbox every evening. Subscribe to Blockworks’ free newsletter now.