The cryptocurrency community is about to lose a prominent voice. J. Christopher Giancarlo, chairman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), has announced his intention to retire following the completion of his current term in 2019. Giancarlo, who was given the nickname “cryptodad” after positive comments he made to the U.S. Congress regarding cryptocurrency, has been a supporter and one of the most important proponents of digital currency in the nation’s capital.
During a congressional hearing earlier this year, Giancarlo won significant favor with the crypto community when he said, “It strikes me that we owe it to this new generation to respect their enthusiasm to respect their enthusiasm about virtual currencies with a thoughtful and balanced response, not a dismissive one.” That was seen as a virtually blessing by one of the most important financial figures in Washington, and resulted in a collective cheer among cryptocurrency enthusiasts.
Due in no small part to Giancarlo’s attitude toward the subject, the CFTC has been involved in the creation of two regulated Bitcoin futures products. Both launched last December and are found on the CBOE and CME exchanges. Many opponents expected the assets to implode, but the opposite has happened. They have been trading in an organized manner and have continued to see an increase in trading volume.
The CFTC has also helped to police the cryptocurrency industry, taking an active role in seeking out frauds and scams. Giancarlo’s term will end on April 13, 2019, but he has indicated that he is willing to stay onboard until U.S. President Donald Trump decides on a successor. Giancarlo has not provided details on why he’s retiring; however, a clue may come from the federal budget signed by Trump in March. The CFTC’s budget was reduced by $1 million, while that of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which seems to have launched a war on cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs), saw its budget increase by 3%.
Giancarlo has been a loud voice for cryptocurrencies, even repeatedly tweeting his support for the space. This has generated some fallout by critics and cryptocurrency opponents, who have argued that he should not consider any decisions that would define cryptocurrency as an asset class.