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SEC Names Cryptocurrency Czar

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The Securities and Exchange Commission said Monday that it has appointed Valerie Szczepanik as associate director of the Division of Corporation Finance and senior advisor for Digital Assets and Innovation, a newly created position.

Szczepanik, who reports to Bill Hinman, director of CorpFin, will coordinate efforts across all SEC divisions and offices regarding the application of U.S. securities laws to emerging digital asset technologies and innovations, including initial coin offerings and cryptocurrencies.

“Valerie’s thought leadership in this area is recognized both within the Commission and across financial regulators in the United States and abroad,” said SEC Chairman Jay Clayton, in a statement. “With her demonstrated skill, experience and keen awareness of the importance of fostering innovation while ensuring investor protection, Val is the right person to coordinate our efforts in this dynamic area that has both promise and risk.”

Hinman said in the statement that Szczepanik “recognized early on the securities law implications of developments like blockchain and distributed ledger technologies, and of cryptocurrencies, Initial Coin Offerings, tokenized securities, and other digital instruments.”

Szczepanik joined the SEC in 1997 and most recently served as an assistant director in the Division of Enforcement’s Cyber Unit.

She head’s the SEC’s Distributed Ledger Technology Working Group, co-heads its Dark Web Working Group, and is a member of the agency’s FinTech Working Group.

Szczepanik received her J.D. from Georgetown Law and her B.S. in Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania.

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