First, there is a small pool of “qualified experts,” especially with competition from private sector participants also recruiting for crypto-related roles. Second, the OIG notes that “many qualified candidates hold crypto assets,” which, according to the Office of the Ethics Counsel, prohibits such candidates from occupying SEC roles related to crypto assets.
The U.S. SEC has the cryptocurrency industry as one of its top examination priorities for the new fiscal year. The agency is recruiting staff with crypto expertise, as disclosed in a report published by the SEC’s Office of Inspector General (OIG).
Chiming in on the subject, Bitwise CIO Matt Hougan argued that an unspoken implication of the SEC’s recruitment requirement is that the agency will primarily recruit staff that dislike cryptocurrencies. According to Hougan, the rule enforces a “strong bias in hiring” as “the only people with “crypto expertise and a willingness to divest 100% of their crypto are deep-seated skeptics.”
Bloomberg ETF Analyst James Seyffart described the SEC’s position on employee crypto holdings as “shocking.” Meanwhile, others canvassed for the SEC to allow employees in crypto-related roles to hold at least a modest amount as it would make them better at their jobs.
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