Crypto is at a crossroads. With innovation in the space accelerating so quickly and incredible new projects being launched every day, more and more leaders across business, finance, and government are starting to acknowledge our view that the future of the internet will be driven by crypto technology. It’s no wonder, then, that crypto regulation has come to the forefront of the national debate. As we witnessed with the Infrastructure Bill, it has never been more important for the crypto community to engage in productive dialogue with regulators and policymakers.
Our portfolio projects are innovating in ways previously unimagined, and so our investment in them must be more than just financial – we seek to provide them with a full suite of resources on their path to success. In our recent conversations with teams, it’s become apparent that regulatory concerns are top-of-mind. The founders and projects we work closely with recognize that the policy decisions made in Washington in the coming months and years will impact their work – and potentially their ability to exist and operate. And they want to be part of the conversation.
As part of our larger effort to make sure we have a world-class support system in place when it comes to policy and regulatory matters, I’m thrilled to announce that Brian Quintenz, a former Commissioner of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, is joining as an advisory partner on the crypto team. The CFTC plays a critical role as a federal regulator with jurisdiction over digital currencies, utility tokens, and other non-security commodities, and Brian has long stood out as an innovative thinker in the crypto and DeFi space. He understands both how crypto technology works and how the CFTC thinks about the issue. His ability to translate between the two will be central to the success of a16z Crypto’s policy program and our portfolio companies.
Brian was nominated by both Presidents Obama and Trump to serve as Commissioner and, in August 2017, was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate – no small task these days. He led the agency’s Technology Advisory Committee, which hosted the most comprehensive set of public crypto-related policy discussions and briefings of any federal financial regulator. During his service, the CFTC oversaw the listing of the first U.S. regulated Bitcoin and Ether futures contracts on derivatives exchanges, and the rapid expansion of DeFi. All the while, he was a champion for tailored, risk-calibrated regulation.
We are grateful that Brian is joining the team to help in our work of translating crypto for the policy community, and translating policy for the crypto community. Brian joins existing advisors Bill Hinman (former Director of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Corporation Finance) and Brent McIntosh (former Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs) to cover the waterfront of expertise that is most critical to our portfolio projects.
Crypto is rapidly becoming mainstream, and we want to make sure that the teams and projects inside our portfolio have everything they need to change the future. Brian was one of the earliest leaders in Washington to recognize the inherent, intrinsic value of crypto. He was outspoken in his role at the CFTC, frequently calling on the global regulatory community to allow an innovation that promises to unlock freedom, wealth creation, and access to financial services for more people to flourish. We’re thrilled to have him on our team. Welcome Brian!
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