Former government officials are flocking to the crypto sector in a turbocharged version of Washington, DC's well-known "revolving door" between public service and private business.
According to new research from the Tech Transparency Project, a nonprofit watchdog organization, nearly 240 former officials in Congress, the White House, and regulatory agencies have changed careers to work in the crypto industry.
Many of these include former department heads in the Trump administration, such as former SEC Chairman Jay Clayton, who joined the crypto custody company Fireblocks in 2021.
In addition, Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s acting chief of staff, and Chris Giancarlo, former chairman of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, both joined the board of advisors for the Chamber of Digital Commerce, a crypto lobbying firm. And Brian Brooks, former Acting Comptroller of the Currency, is now the CEO of Bitfury, a leading infrastructure provider.
The hiring spree of former government officials comes as crypto companies ramp up spending on lobbying as lawmakers and regulators weigh new rules for the sector.
Whether the federal government delivers a crackdown or a series of regulatory tweaks, the incentive to bolster their ranks with knowledgeable former regulators has never been higher.
Out of 235 officials, 78 came from agencies that directly regulated the financial sector, including the Treasury Department, the SEC, the CFTC, and the Comptroller of the Currency.
At the same time, an increasing number of former top executives in the crypto space are taking the revolving door in the opposite direction.
Five former executives at Circle Internet Financial, the company behind the second largest stablecoin USDC, now work for the Federal Reserve in Boston, which recently produced a major report on the technical aspects of creating a central bank digital currency.
These hires occurred at the same time that Circle was pursuing a banking charter from the Fed.