SEC v. Ripple was filed by Jay Clayton, Now he joins Fireblocks while under investigation for potential conflict of interest

Rick Steves

Jay Clayton has come under increased scrutiny over his handling of cryptocurrency issues while Chairman of the SEC, including the complaint filed against Ripple just before leaving office and joining One River Asset Management.

Jay Clayton, the former Chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, has joined Fireblocks as a member of its Advisory Board.

Fireblocks is a crypto asset custodian which has secured the transfer of over $1 trillion in digital assets and has an insurance policy that covers assets in storage and transit.

The firm has over 500 customers ranging from global banks to many of the largest crypto-native exchanges, lending desks, hedge funds, OTC desks, and market makers.

Several top names within the industry are using Fireblocks’ service, including Revolut, BlockFi, Celsius, PrimeTrust, Galaxy Digital, Genesis Trading, crypto.com, and eToro.

Mr. Clayton’s appointment will help Fireblocks and its customers navigate evolving market and regulatory dynamics affecting the development and deployment of solutions for the emerging digital asset infrastructure, said the official statement.

Michael Shaulov, CEO and Co-Founder of Fireblocks, said: “Jay’s insights on financial stability and security in financial markets is unparalleled. Fireblocks will greatly benefit from having Jay on the advisory board given his expertise on many aspects of the financial sector. Jay will help to advance further the safety and security of the Fireblocks infrastructure for capital markets participants and investors.”

“Fireblocks has emerged as a leader in the evolving digital asset space. The scope of the company’s vision to improve the digital asset infrastructure and security is extensive”, said Jay Clayton.

“I share Fireblocks view that digital asset custody requires the same level of service as traditional custody while also striving for better regulatory outcomes in security, certainty, and resiliency. I appreciate the company’s commitment to improving all aspects of the custody and transfer ecosystem and the team’s level of engagement with industry incumbents who have robust legal and compliance infrastructure as well as new entrants in the space.”

SEC suspicious handling of Ripple and XRP triggers investigation

Jay Clayton has come under increased scrutiny over his handling of cryptocurrency issues while Chairman of the SEC. Mr. Clayton declared that Bitcoin wasn’t a security, and its value rose.

The SEC’s lawsuit against Ripple was filed at the end of Mr. Clayton’s tenure at the commission. Once he left the SEC, Mr. Clayton joined One River Asset Management, a cryptocurrency hedge fund exclusively focused on Bitcoin and Ether.

These facts have led nonprofit Empower Oversight to launch an investigation of SEC officials, including Jay Clayton.

The organization, which is dedicated to enhancing independent oversight of government and corporate wrongdoing, has submitted a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request to the SEC seeking communications between SEC officials and their current and former employers.

In another episode of bad judgment, The SEC v. Ripple lawsuit has brought attention this week to the fact that the SEC was caught erasing documents relevant to the XRP case.

Parts of the William Hinman deposition transcript have been disclosed in a brief. In it, Attorney Jeremy Hogan found two bombshells that can pave the way for a win in Ripple’s fair notice defense.

The lawsuit has put pressure on the XRP market, which has been blocked in the United States since the agency’s complaint filed in December 2020. Despite the anxiety involved, the lawsuit is likely to take “several months, if not longer“, according to the SEC.

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