Crypto market unsure as Maxine Waters nominates Kristin Johnson for key Treasury position

Rep. Maxine Waters, a ranking member in the US House Committee on Financial Services, has proposed the nomination of Ms. Kristin Johnson, a current Commissioner of the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), for the position of Assistant Secretary for Financial Institutions at the US Department of Treasury.

In a May 2 letter addressed to President Joe Biden, Rep. Waters cited Johnson’s extensive expertise in financial regulation and her commitment to upholding the integrity of financial markets during her tenure as a CFTC Commissioner.

According to Waters:

“In her role as a CFTC Commissioner, Commissioner Johnson has prioritized maintaining the integrity of our financial markets. She has pushed the Commission to adopt rigorous capital, collateral, and margin standards

Moreover, Waters highlighted Johnson’s advocacy for investor protection and her efforts to hold those who undermine consumer protection laws accountable. The lawmaker noted that Johnson’s leadership in regulating Artificial Intelligence (AI) within the CFTC further demonstrates her dedication to staying abreast of emerging financial technologies.

She added:

“Commissioner Johnson provided the Committee with important insights on a wide range of topics, like access to credit, credit underwriting, fair lending, AI, digital assets, data privacy, cybersecurity, and financial stability, as well as appropriate regulation of banks and fintechs.”

Win for crypto?

Waters’ nomination of Johnson has drawn varying reactions from the crypto community.

Some, like Consensys Lawyer Bill Hughes, view Johnson’s potential appointment as a significant boon for the crypto industry, citing her open-mindedness and productivity on blockchain matters.

Over the past year, Johnson has made several interventions within the crypto industry and has consistently advocated for a regulation-first approach for the emerging industry.

However, others within the community have expressed reservations, suggesting that Johnson’s nomination may not necessarily translate into direct benefits for the crypto industry, citing the example of SEC’s chair Gary Gensler.

Before assuming office in 2021, Gensler’s nomination was met with optimism from many in the community as they anticipated a regulatory environment favorable to the emerging industry.

However, the Gensler-led SEC has brought several enforcement actions against leading crypto firms like Coinbase and Binance and has consistently maintained that the industry operates outside of compliance.

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