FTX US Hires Former CFTC Commissioner to Lead Policy and Regulatory Strategy

Mark Wetjen to lead company’s communications with regulators

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key takeaways

  • New hire will be key part to making FTX US Derivatives the first US-regulated crypto exchange to provide crypto derivatives trading to its user base, FTX.US president says
  • Wetjen became CFTC commissioner in 2011 and served as its acting chairman upon the departure of now-SEC chairman Gary Gensler

A former commissioner of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), Mark Wetjen, has joined the US affiliate of crypto derivatives exchange FTX as head of policy and regulatory strategy. 

The move comes a couple of months after FTX.US announced it would acquire the parent company of digital currency futures and options exchange LedgerX, which the CFTC regulates, as a way to bring crypto derivatives to its customers. The LedgerX business was rebranded as FTX US Derivatives.  

FTX.US President Brett Harrison noted in a statement that Wetjen will help FTX become the first US-regulated crypto exchange to provide crypto derivatives trading to its user base. He added that it’s important for industry leaders in crypto to be transparent and cooperate with lawmakers and regulators.

“We’re really excited to work with Mark on building out relationships with regulators and policymakers,” an FTX spokesperson told Blockworks. “We intend to engage on a number of topics to provide input, responses, and proposals on the cryptocurrency ecosystem generally.”

Specifically, Wetjen will lead the company’s communications with the CFTC, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and various House and Senate Committees. He will also advise the Company on its compliance standards and reporting operations and will continue to serve on FTX US Derivatives’ board of directors.

“While we can’t say confidently what FTX US Derivatives will do — it’s all pending discussions with the CFTC — we intend to begin by focusing on building out standard BTC and ETH futures,” an FTX representative said. “There are other products we would be excited to review later on.”

Wetjen was nominated by then-President Barack Obama to serve a five-year term as a CFTC commissioner in March 2011, and the US Senate confirmed him into the role later that year. He was elected in late 2013 to serve as the CFTC’s acting chairman upon the departure of the previous chairman, Gary Gensler, and he held that position for about five months. 

The executive most recently was CEO at MIAX Futures, where he focused on crypto-derivative products and strategic initiatives.

Wetjen is not the first former CFTC commissioner to dive into the crypto world. 

Brian Quintenz joined venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, also known as a16z, as an advisory partner on its crypto team in September. Before spending four years as a CFTC commissioner beginning in August 2017, he founded Saeculum Capital Management and worked as its managing principal.

“The founders and projects we work closely with recognize that the policy decisions made in Washington in the coming months and years will impact their work — and potentially their ability to exist and operate,” Andreessen Horowitz General Partner Katie Haun wrote in a blog post at the time. “They want to be part of the conversation.”

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