Former SEC Chair Jay Clayton is a Believer in Crypto Technology

Last updated: Mar 30, 2023
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Jay Clayton, former chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), said that crypto has immense potential to positively change the financial system.

Speaking with Becky Quick on CNBC, Clayton touted the benefits of cryptocurrencies, specifically mentioning stablecoins and other “tokenized elements of our society.”

He said he was “a huge believer in this technology,” adding that “efficiency benefits in the financial system and otherwise from tokenization are immense.”

“I would look for the government both reactive in terms of people who are violating our clear laws, but proactive in encouraging the adoption of this technology throughout our financial system. There are billions of dollars of transactions in tokenized forms taking place each day where people have an incredibly high degree of confidence. We should look at what that and think about what that means for our financial system.”

Clayton’s comments came 2 days before publishing an op-ed on the Wall Street Journal titled “America’s Future Depends on the Blockchain”.

Some in the crypto space, especially those in the XRP community, were perplexed by Clayton’s public enthusiasm towards blockchain technology given that he was the official that initiated the lawsuit against Ripple Labs in December of 2020 for allegedly selling XRP as an unregistered security. Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse also thought Clayton's article was rather ironic.

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XRP supporters have accused Clayton of being compromised in his decision to sue Ripple Labs because of a conflict of interest.

According to anti-corruption watchdog Empower Oversight, who filed a lawsuit against the SEC based on this very issue, Clayton “may have had conflicts of interest when he declared that Bitcoin was not a security” since immediately after his time at the SEC, he joined a cryptocurrency hedge fund called One River Asset Management, which only works with Bitcoin and Ethereum.

When asked about the Ripple lawsuit on CNBC, Clayton said he “wasn’t going to comment on any pending investigation or action in front of the SEC,” and that he wasn’t going to engage anyone critiquing his policy.

John Deaton, popular crypto lawyer and XRP supporter, said that Clayton’s op-ed was “simply unbelievable,” and that his audacity was “truly staggering.”

XRP is currently trading at $0.82, and though it is up from where it was at this point last year, most crypto investors and analysts agree that the lawsuit has massively stifled its performance over the course of the bull cycle.

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