On December 2, the SEC announced that Kristina Littman had been appointed as the head of the agency’s Cyber Unit. Littman will take over from Robert Cohen, who previously headed the unit. In her role, she will oversee the SEC’s activities that focus on investor and market protection from cybercrime, crypto crime, and other online threats to trading platforms. According to Jay Clayton, the SEC Chair, Kristina Littman’s innovative mindset, and experience within the SEC, and her passion to protect American investors will make her a great leader for the Cyber Unit.
Littman joined the SEC in 2010 as a staff attorney in the agency’s Division of Enforcement in Philadelphia. Later on, she held senior positions in the Trial and the Market Abuse Units. During this time, she led various investigations and litigations with a lot of success. This included litigation against a pair of hedge fund analysts who were involved in a scheme to engage in insider trading.
How Will This Affect the Crypto Sector?
The SEC holds a lot of influence in the crypto sector. A good example of this is the recent ban of the Telegram token sale. Since there is no law governing the crypto sector, most of these policy decisions at the SEC are based on the opinions of senior officials at the organization.
In her role, Littman will be overseeing the crypto sector. As a result, she will have a lot of influence on the crypto sector. Currently, the SEC has been quite aggressive when it comes to the crypto sector. It has rejected various token sales and prosecuted several startups for launching token sales. For instance, it has rejected the Bitcoin ETF, although it has indicated that it will review the application by Bitwise for a Bitcoin ETF. The SEC rejected the Bitwise application in October. It claimed that Bitwise did not meet certain fundamental requirements for the application to be approved. This recent change at the SEC could be an effort by the agency to have a more progressive stance towards the sector.
Kristina Littman’s commitment to investor protection might be a good thing for the crypto sector. By successfully prosecuting scammers in the sector, it could help to deter other scammers. She could play a pivotal role in helping to pursue hackers who currently view crypto exchanges as easy prey. For instance, the Upbit exchange was recently hacked, which led to the loss of about $50 million in crypto assets.
While the SEC’s changes are important, the most important development for the crypto sector would be the creation of legislation at the federal level. This would provide participants in the crypto sector with legal clarity to make serious investments in the sector. For instance, the legislation would provide major investors with the legal protection they need to invest serious amounts of money in the sector. However, that does not seem likely to happen soon since most legislators and decision-makers at the top echelons are still quite distrustful of cryptocurrencies.
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