Chris Brummer to head CFTC
Cryptocurrencies,  Regulation

DC Fintech Week head Chris Brummer to head CFTC: Report

The Georgetown Law professor would be the third Biden Administration nominee to a major financial regulator position with a deep knowledge of cryptocurrencies

A crypto-trifecta could be coming home if reports that President Joe Biden plans to nominate Chris Brummer, a Georgetown University Law School professor, as chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission are true.

According to Reuters, three sources told it on Jan. 21 that Brummer’s selection will be announced soon. If nominated and confirmed, Brummer will join two other nominees to major regulatory positions who also have close ties to and familiarity with the cryptocurrency industry.

The first is MIT digital currency and blockchain professor Gary Gensler, whose nomination to head the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was formally announced on Jan. 18.

Earlier today, the Wall Street Journal reported that former Ripple advisory board member Michael Barr will be named Comptroller of the Currency, overseeing the banking industry regulator.

Brummer is also intimately familiar with the cryptocurrency and blockchain business, having founded the DC Fintech Week conference in 2017. He has run it since then, and hosts the Fintech Beat podcast.

Brummer is also very familiar with the CFTC, serving as a member of its Subcommittee on Virtual Currencies. He also serves on the Consultative Working Group for the European Securities and Markets Authority’s Financial Innovation Standing Committee.

As faculty director of Georgetown’s Institute of International Economic Law, Brummer testified during a hearing on virtual currencies by the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Securities and Investment on March 14, 2018. He also testified about Facebook’s Libra stablecoin before the same subcommittee on July 17, 2019. That was about a month after the controversial cryptocurrency—recently renamed Diem—was first announced. 

Brummer would replace CFTC Chairman Heath Tarbert, who stepped down from his role as chairman of the agency on Jan. 21. Tarbert, who will remain a commissioner, cited “promoting responsible fintech innovation” as one of his major accomplishments. He also mentioned treating Ethereum’s ether token as a commodity rather than a security.

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Leo Jakobson, Modern Consensus editor-in-chief, is a New York-based journalist who has traveled the world writing about incentive travel. He has also covered consumer and employee engagement, small business, the East Coast side of the Internet boom and bust, and New York City crime, nightlife, and politics. Disclosure: Jakobson has put some 401k money into Grayscale Bitcoin Trust.