Joe Biden is set to be the 46th president of the United States come January, and some crypto proponents think this is a good thing for cryptocurrencies. Many believe there could be a friendlier tone towards these digital assets than was the case with Donald Trump. According to Kristin Smith, executive director of a trade group representing the crypto industry known as the Blockchain Association, cryptocurrencies could have a chance under the Biden administration.
According to Smith, cryptocurrencies have been affected by Trump’s skeptical approach towards them over the four years he has been in office. In the past, the president declared openly he is not a fan of Bitcoin and other crypto coins. And went ahead and appointed like-minded individuals in key positions like Steven Mnuchin as the Treasury Secretary.
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What Could Change Under Biden?
According to Smith, under the new Biden administration, there is a chance to see some new fresh faces in key regulatory positions who are willing to adopt more crypto-friendly policies than those that have already been there.
And there is evidence that these changes are taking place now with the president-elect quick to appoint Gary Gensler, former Goldman Sachs banker, as part of his transition team focused on Wall Street oversight. Gensler currently serves as a financial regulator and is actively involved with cryptocurrencies. He teaches courses on blockchain technology and digital currencies at the MIT School of Management.
Smith sees Gensler’s appointment as part of the Wall Street oversight team as a good sign since the ex-banker is familiar with cryptocurrencies and blockchain. She hopes the new appointee can pick the right team of regulators who are willing to work together on advancing favorable policies for the crypto industry.
One of the biggest issues the crypto industry has had to deal with when it comes to regulators is finding lawmakers that have adequate knowledge of the technology and how it works. And Gensler’s familiarity with the technology should set him apart from the rest.
According to Smith, “that is the most you can ask for.” Having someone who has the idea that a protocol like Ethereum is a good thing for the financial system. That said, crypto fans shouldn’t get their hopes high and expect the president-elect to appoint one of their own to the cabinet—someone like Andrew Yang, who went against Biden for the Democratic presidential candidate ticket. Yang is an ardent crypto fan who promised exciting things for the crypto community during one of his campaign speeches if he got elected. Even if Biden goes ahead and appoints Yang to the cabinet, the Senate would still have to confirm him for the job, something highly unlikely, according to Smith, since Republicans are expected to control the Senate. And they haven’t been very nice towards crypto.
SEC Chairman To Step Down
But there is another reason for the crypto community to be excited. Recently it was announced the current SEC chairman Jay Clayton would be stepping down by the end of the year. Clayton is the man that oversaw the rejection of nine Bitcoin exchange-traded funds over his three and half years reign over the institution. The crypto community has criticized him for keeping a tight rein on cryptocurrencies over his reign. However, to his credit, he wasn’t an outright Bitcoin hater.
And has spoken favorably about the coin several times. Speaking to CNBC Squawk Box recently, he claimed what led to the rejection of the BTC ETFs was his fear of the average investor getting exposed to unnecessary risk when investing in the instruments.