Jay Clayton will end his term at the end of the year at the head of the SEC. This was announced by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
This opens a difficult succession for the US agency. If Jay Clayton is the one who most of all has found himself living and living with the cryptocurrency boom, his successor will have decisions to make (or not to make) the adoption of cryptocurrency available to retail and institutional investors.
Jay Clayton and the SEC against ICOs
In fact, the SEC press release itself recalls that it was under Jay Clayton’s leadership that the Securities and Exchange Commission faced one of the consequences of the crypto industry’s speculative bubble: the ICO boom in 2017.
It states that:
„Since 2017, US capital markets have experienced a sudden proliferation of Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), products which, while potentially representing new frontiers in finance, have also attracted significant fraudulent activity.
And in fact, the Clayton-led SEC, with the help of specially created divisions such as the Cyber Unit, fought against ICOs that violated federal law, while also attempting to shed light on the market with a series of actions called „measured but timely“.
This battle left excellent victims in the field. Just think of Telegram, which was fined an impressive $18.5 million. In fact, the ICO of the Gram token would not have respected US regulations. The battle was so bitter that Telegram gave in and gave up both the TON blockchain project and the Gram launch.
Even Kik, who had launched an ICO with a token, Kin, for a messaging application, had to give up because of the stakes imposed by the SEC. The affair only recently ended with a $5 million fine for Kik.
It is still Clayton’s SEC that has been holding back the approval of ETFs on Bitcoin. The SEC, however, prides itself on having built, under its latest chairman, a robust framework for launching certain types of ETFs that promote innovation and competition. ETFs are missing on Bitcoin, but they have not found a place even in this 2020 that is coming to an end. Clayton himself said no to these products. It was 2018, and two years didn’t change his mind.
The SEC at a turning point?
In his message thanking President Trump for choosing him and all his internal and external staff, Jay Clayton pointed out:
„Working alongside the SEC’s incredibly talented and motivated men and women has been the highlight of my career. I am proud of our collective efforts to carry forward every part of the SEC’s tripartite mission, always with an eye on the interests of our Main Street investors. The U.S. capital markets ecosystem is the strongest and most agile in the world and, thanks to the hard work of the diverse and inclusive SEC team, we have improved investor protection, promoted capital formation for small and large companies and enabled our markets to function more transparently and efficiently.
It will now be up to the next chairman of the SEC to continue where Clayton leaves off. It will be his successor who will also have to make a breakthrough for the cryptocurrency industry, which certainly can no longer be ignored.