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Former CFTC Commissioner Takes Up Head of Policy Role at Andreessen Horowitz

Former CFTC Commissioner Brian Quintenz has accepted the full-time position as the head of policy at crypto VC giant a16z.

3 min read
Andreessen Horowitz has been very actively investing in the crypto space. Image: Shutterstock.

Crypto venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, also known as a16z, today announced that Brian Quintenz has assumed the full-time role of head of policy.

Formerly a commissioner of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) under both former Presidents Obama and Trump, Quintenz first joined a16z as a senior advisor in September 2021.

During his tenure at the CFTC, Quintenz oversaw the listing of Bitcoin futures contracts in the U.S. market and the creation of tokenized commodities, among other crypto-specific developments.

Commenting on Quintenz’s appointment, 16z managing partner Anthony Albanese said that while “Brian has been instrumental in helping our firm and portfolio manage DC’s complexity,” the last year’s events in the crypto sector “made it evident that more regulation is needed in certain areas of crypto and web3.”

“The shape that legislation takes has yet to be determined, but it could have a massive effect on web3’s promise,” said Albanese.

'Thoughtful’ crypto regulation needed

According to Albanese, a16z “have long called for and supported thoughtful legislation, but it has never been more crucial than today.”

“With multiple bills being worked on in both the House and the Senate, the increased activity of the SEC and CFTC, and an overall consensus from the industry, we believe that the time is now for impactful legislation,” said Albanese, adding that with the new Congress taking office in just a couple of weeks, “this is a critical time in web3’s history as policymakers in DC take a close look at the future of crypto.”

In a September interview with Decrypt, Quintenz opined that the regulatory environment for crypto in its current form is cumbersome, with some regulatory agencies’ approach to crypto preventing the adoption of new technology.

Specifically calling out the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and its chair Gary Gensler, Quintenz said that had the agency been serious, “it could do things that allowed for a kind of securities-like regulatory structure to exist, without threatening the entire ecosystem."

Today’s news follows the concerns raised by Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and New York representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in October that the crypto sector has been rapidly escalating its lobbying efforts, hiring hundreds of ex-government officials and thus creating risks of “corrupting the policymaking process and undermining the public’s trust in our financial regulators.”

In their letters sent to the heads of seven agencies, including the SEC and the CFTC, the lawmakers also asked regulators to clarify their rules around ex-employees seeking jobs in the crypto industry.

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