Anti-crypto SEC commissioner’s term is up in 41 days — Will she be replaced?


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Caroline Crenshaw, one of five commissioners of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), could be leaving the financial regulator after roughly four years.

As of April 25, President Joe Biden’s administration will have 41 days to decide whether to nominate someone to replace Crenshaw before her term ends on June 5. The commissioner was nominated by former President Donald Trump in 2020 to fill a seat left vacant by former SEC commissioner Rob Jackson but may continue to serve until the end of 2025 if no replacement is found.

During her time at the SEC, Crenshaw, a Democrat, was one of the seemingly anti-crypto voices. In January, she voted against approval of listing and trading for spot Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded funds, claiming the underlying markets were “marred by fraud and manipulation.”

“[I]t is well-documented that many criminals use bitcoin to evade U.S. financial sanctions,” said Crenshaw in January. “Many ransomware attacks demand payment in bitcoin, and analysis shows that these payments may end up funding our geopolitical rivals or adversaries.”

Caroline Crenshaw. Source: SEC

Crenshaw, Chair Gary Gensler, and Commissioner Jaime Lizárraga supported efforts to redefine the term “dealer” under SEC rules. Many in the crypto space criticized the change as a threat to the industry, with the Blockchain Association filing a lawsuit against the SEC with the Crypto Freedom Alliance of Texas.

Gensler, often the commission’s public face, has taken the brunt of ire from many crypto users over leading the commission through a “regulation by enforcement” approach to companies. Many on social media believed the SEC chair was resigning after an ambiguous X post in April, but his term does not end until 2026.

Related: Consensys files lawsuit against SEC and commissioners over Ether regulation

The White House has sometimes put forward names for financial regulators reaching the end of the terms only days after they have officially ended. For example, in June 2023, President Biden nominated Commissioner Mark Uyeda to serve at the SEC for five years. He was sworn into office in December 2023, roughly six months after his initial term ended.

No pick for Crenshaw’s replacement or her nomination appeared on the White House website at the time of publication. Any nominations would first go to the Senate for approval.

President Biden would have the choice to nominate either a Republican or Democrat to fill Crenshaw’s seat based on SEC rules. It’s unclear what impact her potential departure could have on the regulation and enforcement of crypto. The commission has several ongoing lawsuits against crypto firms, including Coinbase, Binance and Ripple.

Magazine: Crypto regulation: Does SEC Chair Gary Gensler have the final say?