Washington is filled with a revolving door of people who work in government and then go on to use that experience getting highly paid gigs in the private sector. And while we’re used to seeing that in areas like healthcare and defense, there’s a new game in town. Everyone wants to get hired to work on crypto.
Today, we’ve got 14 examples of people who used to work as regulators for the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Treasury Department, and many more agencies who then went on to work for places like Coinbase, Binance, and other firms interested in lobbying the government for more relaxed rules around cryptocurrencies.
It was announced last week that Mick Mulvaney, a man complicit in a countless number of the worst offenses of the Trump regime, has been hired by Astra Protocol, a crypto company specializing in navigating the world of government compliance. And Mulvaney could be an asset, given that he was not only Donald Trump’s chief of staff, he was the director of the Office of Management and Budget and acting head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Before that he was a Republican congressman who rode in on the anti-Obama Tea Party wave in 2010. So, yeah, he knows Washington and every loophole imaginable, no doubt.
Scott Bauguess, former SEC Deputy Director, was hired by Coinbase to become the VP of Global Regulatory Policy in February of 2022. Bauguess worked at the SEC for 12 years.
Michele Korver worked as the Chief Digital Currency Advisor at the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). And last month she announced she’d be moving over to become the Head of Regulatory at venture capital firm a16z.
Jay Clayton, former head of the SEC from 2017 until 2020, was hired to be an advisor by Fireblock, an Israel-based crypto firm worth $2 billion, according to Forbes. Clayton also advises One River Digital Asset Management, a $2.5 billion crypto hedge fund.
Brian Brooks, former acting head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, was hired by Binance U.S. in April of 2021. Brooks stepped down after just three months but moved to Netherlands-based Bitcoin-mining company Bitfury to become CEO in November of 2021.
Christian Sabella, former deputy director at the SEC, was hired by Coinbase in June of 2021. Sabella worked at the SEC for over a decade, according to CoinDesk.
Max Baucus, former U.S. Senator from Montana and Senate Finance Committee chairman, was hired by Binance in March of 2021 to be a government liaison. Baucus was also the U.S. ambassador to China under President Barack Obama.
Katie Cox, formerly the manager of the mergers and acquisitions section of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System from 2010-2020, was hired as an advisor to Wyoming-based crypto bank Avanti in July of 2020.
Thaya Brook Knight
Thaya Brook Knight was a lawyer for the SEC but was hired as Coinbase’s senior public policy manager in January of 2022. Knight also worked for the libertarian think tank the Cato Institute.
Greg Monahan, a former U.S. Treasury criminal investigator who worked for the government for almost three decades, was hired by Binance in August of 2021. Monahan’s title at Binance is the Global Money Laundering Reporting Officer.
Brett Redfearn, who was the SEC’s Director of the Division of Trading and Markets starting in October 2017, worked at Coinbase for just four months before moving on to crypto company Securitize, Inc. in October of 2021.
Manuel “Manny” Alvarez, the former commissioner at the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation, was hired by Binance U.S. in July of 2021. Alvarez was also an enforcement attorney at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau from 2011 until 2014 during the Obama administration.
Mary Jo White
Mary Jo White, former SEC chair during the Obama administration, was hired by Ripple to defend against the SEC’s scrutiny of the company, according to Fortune magazine. The SEC is suing Ripple for selling unlicensed securities, something White calls “dead wrong.”
Chris Giancarlo, chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) under President Trump, joined several crypto companies after leaving government. Giancarlo, who many in the crypto community call “Crypto Dad,” according to CoinDesk, serves on the board of Digital Assets and is a policy advisor to the crypto venture capital firm CoinFund.