Fireblocks appoints former SEC Chair Clayton to advisory board

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton, testifies before a House Committee on Financial Services hearing in Washington
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton listens during a House Committee on Financial Services hearing entitled "Capital Markets and Emergency Lending in the COVID-19 Era" in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 25, 2020. Brendan Smialowski/Pool via REUTERS

August 19, 2021

By Noor Zainab Hussain

(Reuters) – Fireblocks, a platform that allows banks and other financial institutions to store, move and issue cryptocurrencies, on Thursday appointed Jay Clayton, former U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission chair, to its advisory board.

Clayton, who also serves as non-executive chair of Apollo Global Management Inc’s board, joins Fireblocks at a time when the financial sector, particularly the banking industry, has been adopting blockchain technology at a fast pace.

Bank of New York Mellon Corp in March took part in Fireblocks’ $133 million funding round.

“My primary role is to help Fireblocks understand how these new digital solutions and investment opportunities best fit within existing market practices and regulations,” Clayton told Reuters.

As SEC chairman from May 2017 to December 2020, Clayton pursued changes to regulations seen as burdensome or hindering corporate growth, often in the face of opposition from investor advocates. Prior to joining SEC, he was a corporate deals lawyer at Sullivan & Cromwell.

While at the SEC, Clayton also led a crackdown on cryptocurrencies, repeatedly expressing concerns over the digital assets and “initial coin offerings.”

“I’ve long said that the new technology should not cause us to change the fundamental protections in our securities markets,” Clayton said.

Several officials from former U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration have landed positions in the booming digital currency industry, as the sector beefs up on legal expertise and Washington connections amid increasing regulatory scrutiny https://reut.rs/3kajfWC.

Cryptocurrency startup Solidus Labs in July hired the former director of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as its top regulatory official, while former bank regulator Brian Brooks was appointed Binance’s U.S. CEO in May, but he stepped down earlier this month.

(Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)