Micheal Barr, a former member of Ripple’s board of advisers, is expected to become the next U.S. banking regulator, according to a report. Formerly assistant treasury secretary, Barr will be the second person with crypto affiliates to lead the Office of the Currency Controller (OCC.) The recently departed Cash Management Manager Brian Brooks is a former Coinbase executive.
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According to a Wall Street Journal report, which cites anonymous sources, Barr’s likely appointment will be at the expense of Mehrsa Baradaran, a professor of law. Still, the report reveals that Barr, who is currently the Dean of public policy at the University of Michigan, was not available to confirm the reports at the time of publication.
Meanwhile, the same report explains that, during his previous stint with the US Treasury Department, Barr helped craft “the Dodd-Frank Act 2010, a sweeping overhaul of financial regulation that followed the 2008-09 financial crisis.”
For the moment, tapping Barr as the country’s next major banking regulator marks the second time the Biden administration has selected an individual with some crypto background to lead a regulatory agency. A week before Barr’s rumors were chosen, media reports had suggested that the new administration lined up Gary Gensler to be the next chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. During his time as head of the Commodity and Futures Trading Commission, Gensler has apparently shown an appreciation of cryptocurrencies.
Meanwhile, crypto enthusiasts have responded to Gensler and Barr’s rumored appointments with cautious optimism. Some say this could be a positive sign for the cryptocurrency market, but others warn there is more to do. Having informed individuals at the helm is not enough. For example, Petr Kozyakov, the co-founder of Mercuryo.io, explains to news.Bitcoin.com that “Gensler’s intense background in the cryptocurrency space is a sign of positive hope for crypto.”
Still, Kozyakov wonders whether the appointments alone can end uncertainty in space. Instead, he insists that “much will depend on the status of digital currencies: goods or securities.” According to Kozyakov, some of the current challenges in this space “may be solved with the Digital Commodity Exchange Act introduced by Texan Congressman Michael Conaway in late 2020.”
Similarly, Anna Tutova, CEO of Coinstelegram thinks that “Gary Gensler and Michael Barr’s background is positive for crypto regulations.” He added:
In general, nominating a person well-versed in crypto and financial technologies should be positive for the crypto industry.
As for Barr’s rumor nomination, Tutova believes he will continue in Brooks’ footsteps. However, Tutova suggests that only a robust regulatory ecosystem, infrastructure and investor protection will “lead to an influx of more retail investors into the crypto industry and thus broaden mass adoption.”
What are your thoughts on Micheal Barr’s rumored appointment as head of the OCC? You can share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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