As regulatory oversight of cryptocurrency looms, Solidus Labs has appointed former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director Kathy Kraninger to grease the wheels.
Solidus Labs, which creates cryptocurrency market surveillance tools, appointed Kraninger, who led the CFPB from 2018 to 2021, to lead the company’s regulatory efforts as its vice president of regulatory affairs.
Asaf Meir, Solidus Labs’ CEO, praised Kathy’s “strong commitment to consumer protection” and expertise in regulatory issues. He added that cryptocurrency is bringing immense changes to how financial markets work and how they are regulated.
“Crypto and decentralized finance – DeFi – are not only changing the way we understand financial markets and risk, they’re also transforming financial regulation,” said Meir. “Kathy’s the right person to lead our strategy in response to demand from regulators, enforcement agencies and legislators for crypto-native risk monitoring solutions.”
While she led the CFPB, Kraninger gained a reputation for being much more business-friendly than her predecessor, Richard Cordray. Enforcement actions plummeted under her watch, as did civil penalties. The agency recovered $1.9 billion on behalf of consumers from 2018 to 2020, compared with $5.6 billion in 2015 alone.
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Kraninger said that decentralized finance and cryptocurrency are “truly changing the way we engage in the financial marketplace.” She said that Solidus hopes to be on the leading edge of those changes.
“Solidus brings essential crypto-native risk monitoring and fraud prevention capabilities that meet the needs of responsible industry players and regulators, and can help facilitate the next generation of markets.”
Kraninger’s appointment to the New York-based cryptocurrency startup comes as regulators across the world warn they intend to reign in cryptocurrency and stablecoins.
Last month, the Bank of England raised concerns about stablecoins, a form of currency used to facilitate transactions with cryptocurrency.
In a whitepaper, the central bank wrote, “The viability of their business models must not depend on looser regulation for the same level of risk – a form of ‘regulatory arbitrage’. And they must not rely on making promises that they cannot guarantee to keep over time.”
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen in a February interview with CNBC called cryptocurrency “highly speculative” and voiced concerns about the risks to investors.
“I think it’s important to make sure that it is not used as a vehicle for elicit transactions and that there’s investor protection,” said Yellen.
Earlier this week, Yellen convened a meeting to discuss the “need to act quickly to ensure there is an appropriate U.S. regulatory framework in place.”
The group said it expected to release recommendations “in the coming months.”
Editor’s note: Due to an editing error, a prior version of this story said Kraninger was acting director. She was confirmed as director in late 2018 in a party-line vote.