Biden to Tap Former Ripple Advisor as Vice Chair of Fed


Law professor Michael Barr, a former advisor to Ripple, is President Biden’s choice to become the next vice chair for supervision of the Federal Reserve, according to an announcement from The White House.

In the position, created in 2010 as part of the Dodd-Frank Act, Barr would be responsible for developing policy recommendations regarding the supervision and regulation of banks for the Fed’s board. 

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The move has perked the interest of crypto enthusiasts and naysayers alike, given Barr’s ties to the industry.

Barr joined the Ripple advisory board in 2015 after having worked in the U.S. Department of Treasury as an advisor to President Bill Clinton and as the assistant secretary for financial institutions under President Barack Obama. 

“I’m excited to be joining the Advisory Board of Ripple Labs,” Barr said in a 2015 press release when he joined Ripple. “Our global payments system is badly outdated. I think innovation in payments can help make the financial system safer, reduce cost, and improve access and efficiency for consumers and businesses alike.”

Ripple Labs created XRP in 2012. It’s now the sixth-largest cryptocurrency with a $37.5 billion market cap, according to CoinMarketCap.

After news of Barr’s pending nomination, XRP was up 7% on Friday morning and one of the few top-10 coins not in the red over the past 24 hours.

Barr’s ties to Ripple, Lending Club

In 2020, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a lawsuit against Ripple for raising $1.3 billion through the sale of XRP in an “unregistered securities offering.”

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The SEC began legal proceedings against Ripple in December 2021.

Earlier this week, the judge presiding over the SEC’s lawsuit ruled that the regulator will have to release internal emails that allegedly contain evidence of a conflict of interest. 

The emails, which were obtained by nonprofit whistleblower Empower Oversight, show a former SEC official was told several times not to meet with his former employer, Simpson Thatcher, who sits on the Ethereum Enterprise Alliance.

After Ripple, Barr also held an advisory seat at LendingClub. 

“Lending Club’s platform is very innovative and consumer-friendly,” he said in a 2013 press release. “The platform offers borrowers a fixed interest rate and fully amortizing loans that help consumers pay down their debt each month.”

Neither of the crypto advisory positions appears on his 30-page curriculum vitae, which includes six different law clerk positions he held in the 1990s. 

This isn’t the first time Barr’s name has been floated for a post in the Biden administration. In January, Barr was also said to be replacing Brian Brooks as Comptroller of the Currency.

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