The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced its appointment of Valerie Szczepanik as senior advisor for digital assets and innovation for division director (Bill Hinman), a newly created position in the corporate finance division of the agency. She was also named associate director of the Division of Corporate Finance, a preexisting position.
Though the announcement has few details on Szczepanik's specific responsibilities in this role, the new position is already being described by some as "crypto czar."
Hinman, the corporate finance division head, is quoted in the release:
"Valerie 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 formerly served in the Division of Enforcement's cyber unit, is the co-head of the dark web working group, and heads the SEC's distributed ledger technology working group (DLTWG). She also contributed to an SEC investigation – and resulting report – that deemed tokens offered by The DAO during a purported "crowdfunding project" to be subject to securities law. She was also involved in the investigation of BitFunder.
In the SEC's announcement, Szczepanik said, "I am excited to take on this new role in support of the SEC's efforts to address digital assets and innovation as it carries out its mission to facilitate capital formation, promote fair, orderly, and efficient markets, and protect investors, particularly Main Street investors."