The Ripple Advisor’s crypto connections end the appointment as banking regulator

Michael Barr is no longer considered to take on Brian Brooks’ role as Treasury Department’s currency auditor.

Barr faced “a stream of Liberal Democratic opposition,” Bloomberg reported this week.

His work for cryptocurrency companies was part of his undoing, the New York Times added on the same day.

Barr, an Obama-era finance officer, has been “rejected by progressives who view him as being too moderate and fear his work for cryptocurrency companies,” the Times’ DealBook column said.

As a former member of the advisory board of international payment services company Ripple, Barr was part of a trio of crypto-related financial regulators nominated or audited by President Joe Biden’s administration. Former MIT professor of digital assets and blockchain, Gary Gensler, is currently confirmed as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), while DC Fintech Week conference leader Chris Brummer has the option to chair the commodity futures trading commission (CFTC).

The office of currency auditor that oversees the country’s largest banks, including Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase, gained prominence in the cryptocurrency industry when Brooks stepped down as Coinbase’s general counsel last March to take the role.

During his 10-month tenure as Acting Comptroller, Brooks made a number of very important decisions, including bank custody of cryptocurrency and the use of stablecoins for payments – the latter CEO of USDC issuer Circle, Jeremy Allaire, tweeted: “[t]This is a HUGE way to start 2021. Brooks also issued the industry’s first Bundesbank charter to cryptocurrency administrator Anchorage.

Stablecoin regulation has been the target of progressive Congressional Democrats like Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), and Brooks’ actions led American bankers to dub him “one of the most active and controversial temporary regulators of recent times”.

Barr, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Financial Institutions under President Barak Obama, helped draft the 2010 Dodd-Frank Reform and Consumer Protection Act on Wall Street, which introduced severe reforms to financial regulations following the major mortgage crisis of 2008-2009.

He is currently Dean of the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan and Professor at the Law School teaching financial regulation and international finance. He co-founded the school’s International Transactions Clinic.

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