Former CFTC chairman has joined New York law firm to further Digital Age

Former CFTC chairman has joined New York law firm to further Digital Age

“Crypto Dad” has rejoined the workforce. Former Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Chairman Christopher Giancarlo has accepted a position as senior counsel for the New York-based law firm of Willkie Farr & Gallagher. Originally appointed to serve as the head of the CFTC during the Obama administration, Giancarlo served for five years in that position. He is known for his public support of blockchain technology, approving Bitcoin futures trading, and promoting digital innovations.

Yahoo reported his email announcement as saying:

I have spent the past three and a half decades advising and building global businesses and regulatory frameworks in the juncture of trading markets, technology and law. I am delighted to join a firm that is a center of excellence in all three areas.

Giancarlo completed his five-year term of service this past July. He earned the moniker of “Crypto Dad” from his public positions of support for all things crypto. He had ruled that Bitcoin was a commodity under the CFTC’s regulations and suggested that Ether should also receive similar treatment. He also gave a green light for BTC futures trading on the CBoE and the CME in 2017, but he is best known for his missive to the U.S. Senate in 2018 that counseled:

Lawmakers should respect the next generation’s wishes and embrace Bitcoin because its adoption might be inevitable.

His email communiqué also disclosed that, while he intends to spend much of his time serving Wilkie clients, he also plans to continue working in the digital arena and doing his best to influence public policy while serving on a number of public and private boards:

I will divide my time between assisting Willkie clients in their worldwide commercial ventures and focusing on key issues of public interest…Among other things, I will continue to advocate the development of a blockchain-based digital dollar and a new American lending benchmark to replace Libor.

When Giancarlo stepped down as chairman of the CFTC, there was some trepidation in the Bitcoin community that it had lost one of its major supporters within the regulatory establishment. Fears were assuaged somewhat after the appointment of Heath Tarbert to take over the helm at the CFTC. In one of his first public appearances, as reported by CoinTelegraph, Tarbert said:

What we don’t want to do is take a heavy hand and snuff out innovation altogether. The CFTC’s willingness to allow innovation to develop should not be confused with a tolerance for fraudulent behavior or a so-called light-touch approach.

Sounds as if Tarbert is a “chip off the old Giancarlo block”.

Willkie Farr & Gallagher is the 57th ranked law firm in the world based on revenues. Its most recently reported annual turnover for 2018 was $817 million. Known simply as “Willkie”, this New York law firm was formed in 1888. It is international with eleven offices in six countries and has in excess of 700 lawyers, who specialize in corporate practice. Two Supreme Court justices have come from this prestigious firm, and two partners have served as President of the American Bar Association. Wendell Willkie joined the firm in 1941, after his unsuccessful bid to unseat Franklin D. Roosevelt as President of the United States.

For the time being, Christopher Giancarlo will have his hands full in his new duties, but he is already off and running to continue his supportive efforts in the digital space. His closing comment was:

I expect soon to announce additional leadership roles in enterprises engaged in financial trading markets and digital commerce.

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