Michael C. Barr, former Minister of Finance and former advisory member of Ripple, is likely to be the next currency watchdog, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.
If Barr is nominated and approved by the U.S. Senate, he will replace Brian Brooks, the former CEO of Coinbase who served as assistant controller for the second half of 2020. Barr is currently Dean of the Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. The news came days after Politico announced that Barr was in discussions with law professor Mehrsa Baradari.
Crypto Advocates in the Government
Barr was part of the Barack Obama administration’s finance department, where he worked on banking regulation in the form of the Dodd-Frank Act, the newspaper reported. He joined Ripple’s advisory board in 2015, although it is currently confirmed that he is no longer a member of the company.
If Barr is indeed nominated and confirmed, he will be the second person with crypto connections to run the federal banking regulator that awarded Anchorage a national trust charter last week.
In Brooks’ management, the OCC also issued several interpretive letters and finalized fair access rules. According to the letters, cryptocurrencies can bring the industry closer to the traditional financial system by making it easier for these startups to use banking services.
Some of these interpretation letters also allow banks to participate in the cryptocurrency ecosystem by using stable payment coins or acting as node operators on the blockchain network.
Crypto enthusiasts may not know fair access rules. While Brooks completed it before retiring last Thursday, it hasn’t been posted on the Federal Register, meaning it hasn’t taken effect.
Joe Biden in Crypto So Far
President Joe Biden just froze all rule-making by the agency, including a vexed proposal by former Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin about unghosted wallets.
The freeze, which awaits further review of the proposed rules, has been welcomed by cryptocurrency advocates, who have fiercely opposed the proposed rule and the previous government’s first attempts to speed it up.
First filed on December 18, 2020, the proposal requires an exchange to store the name and address information for customers transferring crypto worth more than $ 3,000 daily to private crypto wallets. It further suggested exchanges to compile transaction reports for customers making transactions amounting to $ 10,000 per day.
Critics of the rule say it is technically impossible to fulfil some projects because smart contracts contain no name or address information.