The chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Jay Clayton, tendered his resignation after spending more than three years in office. The resignation came just hours after he signed the decision to file a lawsuit against Ripple Labs, Inc and its co-founders, Christian Larsen and Bradley Garlinghouse. The legal action produced a strong impact on the price of XRP which has lost more than 50% of its value so far this week.
Clayton will be replaced by Elad Roisman, who was appointed by the Donald Trump administration to chair the SEC on an interim basis, as revealed by a tweet in which Commissioner Hester Peirce congratulates the new president. Roisman now inherits the tough legal battle that could break out with Ripple , but he only has until January 20, when President-elect Joe Biden takes office, to stamp his mark. Surely the appointment of new authorities would remove him from the position.
Roisman is recognized as a friendly commissioner to the cryptocurrency ecosystem. He left evidence of this two years ago when he said the SEC should “address these new challenges [cryptocurrencies] fairly and transparently.” At the time, he added the need to “examine and reexamine its rules, regulations and guidelines” to adapt to a new and evolving market. His phrases marked distance with the position of Clayton, who as president maintained a strict stance against cryptocurrencies.
Roisman joined the SEC in 2018 from the US Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.In that role, he advised committee chairs on issues related to securities, financial regulation, and international financial affairs. He has also played a role in drafting laws related to economic growth and consumer protection.
Clayton’s resignation was something that had been known since the end of November and since then the community that grows around cryptocurrencies has mentioned the possibility that the regulator will change its perception of crypto assets . Although Clayton never openly declared himself an enemy of bitcoin, on several occasions he did not refer to the pioneering cryptocurrency as a security in itself, but rather as a payment mechanism.
In an interview with CNBC two years ago, he said: “We determined that bitcoin is not a security, but rather a payment mechanism and stored value. There are inefficiencies in our current payment mechanisms, these inefficiencies are the things that make bitcoin go up. ” With his latest action as the SEC chair, he made it clear that he was rejecting the option of recognizing cryptocurrencies as a security.
Clayton will also be remembered because he never approved a Bitcoin ETF (exchange-traded funds). The body rejected nine projects to create a bitcoin ETF and therefore, several ecosystem analysts believe that, after their resignation, this financial product will finally be available to investors.