"Crypto Dad" Ditches BlockFi Board Seat After Four Months
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"Crypto Dad" Ditches BlockFi Board Seat After Four Months

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1 year ago

Christopher Giancarlo joined the crypto lending firm in April, before New Jersey regulators accused it of selling unregistered securities.

"Crypto Dad" Ditches BlockFi Board Seat After Four Months


Crypto lender BlockFi suffered a setback Wednesday when its high-profile independent director resigned after just four months.

Former Commodity Futures Trading Commission chairman Christopher Giancarlo, known as “Crypto Dad” in the industry for some early, positive support of cryptocurrencies, did not give a reason for stepping down. However, the company is under fire from regulators in several states for dealing in unregistered securities.

He will be replaced by Ellen-Blair Chube, a managing director and client service officer at global financial services firm William Blair. Chube said:

“I was immediately struck by the caliber of leadership and strength of retail and institutional product offering at BlockFi. So many of the crypto-firsts have been pioneered by this organization, and I am excited to count myself as part of the board that will support BlockFi’s mission of financial inclusion, continued innovation and the next tranche of industry firsts that are to come.”

Giancarlo did not completely cut ties with BlockFi, saying “the best is yet to come” for the company. He said:

“BlockFi is an institution that is critical to the broader crypto ecosystem. I’m looking forward to continuing to advise this impressive group of leaders, as they work to bridge the worlds of traditional finance and blockchain technology.”

Regulatory Stress

Giancarlo joined BlockFi’s board on April 20, saying it “provides a model for how to responsibly and thoughtfully manage innovation while also improving the financial well-being of their customers.”

Three months later, the attorney general of the firm’s home state, New Jersey, announced plans by the New Jersey Bureau of Securities to order BlockFi to stop accepting new clients for its BlockFi Interest Accounts (BIA). Attorneys general in Alabama and Texas soon followed suit. 

The New Jersey order was delayed for a second time on Sept. 1.

BIA accounts offer cryptocurrency owners between 0.1% and 8% APY interest for depositing 13 different cryptocurrencies and stablecoins, which are lent to borrowers. The attorneys general claim the BIA accounts involve selling unregistered securities.
BlockFi was having a very good year until the regulators came calling. In March, it raised $350 million in a Series D venture funding round that valued the company at $3 billion.
Despite his departure, Giancarlo will remain heavily involved in the cryptocurrency industry. He created the Digital Dollar Project shortly after stepping down from the CFTC. It lobbies for and supports the creation of a U.S. central bank digital currency, or CBDC.
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