United States Attorney General William Barr announced that President Trump will most likely task Jay Clayton as the legal enforcer for a chunk of New York — a state that has historically held a heavy-handed regulatory stance on crypto.
Barr said in a June 19 statement from the Department of Justice, or DoJ:
“I am pleased to announce that President Trump intends to nominate Jay Clayton, currently the Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, to serve as the next United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York."
Laden with legal battles and regulation
Over the course of crypto's 11-year history, New York has shown a stiff regulatory atmosphere for the developing industry. The state's financial services department put the BitLicense into place in 2015, forcing crypto-related company compliance under stringent guidelines. The region has made a name for itself as a difficult garden for crypto growth.
The Southern District of New York, or SDNY, in particular, has hosted a number of crypto-related legal battles in recent years. The list spans an array of categories, including the court case of Ross Ulbricht — the man behind the Silk Road black market, which allowed payment in digital assets.
Barr touted Clayton as a fit for the region's attorney role, given his past work. "His management experience and expertise in financial regulation give him an ideal background to lead the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York," Barr said in the statement.
Clayton has spoken a lot on crypto as SEC chairman
Over the past few years, Clayton has made numerous headlines in relation to digital asset regulation. In one of his most recent statements, the SEC head spoke favorably on the industry's underlying blockchain technology in December 2019.
In August 2019, however, he showed his unwillingness to bend when it came to guidelines around crypto assets.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Clayton said:
"I think a lot of people got excited that somehow we would change the rules to accommodate the technology and they invested their time and effort thinking that would happen [...] I have been pretty clear from the start, that ain’t happening."
In September 2019, Clayton also expressed the need for tighter Bitcoin regulation if the asset wants a listing on mainstream exchanges.