In brief

  • Saule Omarova is pegged as the next person to head the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.
  • She has had some insightful things to say about the crypto industry in the past.

Saule Omarova has reportedly been nominated as the next in line to run the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), according to Bloomberg

Omarova, a professor at Cornell University Law School, is also keenly aware of the crypto industry and hasn’t shied away from sharing her mostly critical view of the sector. 

In February of this year, Omarova shared a Financial Times article titled “Bitcoin’s rise reflects America’s decline,” later tweeting that “getting out of the post-COVID recession via real economy growth” is of the “utmost importance.”

Back in 2019, she said Bitcoin’s rise from an “obscure techno-utopian experiment” to an asset featured in institutional investor portfolios is a “vivid example of how fintech technology can be, and is used to synthesize tradable financial assets effectively out of thin air.” 

According to Bloomberg, Omarova has described the rise of cryptocurrencies as “benefiting mainly the dysfunctional financial system we already have,” placing her firmly in line with some of the United States’ most prominent regulatory and political figures to have taken aim at crypto. 

Omarova also joins a long list of politicians and regulators that believe that the financial world is inherently political. In a written testimony to the United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, from 2018 Omarova said “money and power are two sides of the same coin. Finance is, and always will be, a matter of utmost and direct public policy significance.”

“‘Virtualizing’ financial transactions does not change this basic fact, only obscures it from view,” she added. 

The United States’ crypto skeptics

This year has seen several prominent names in the United States’ political and regulatory scene adopt critical stances against cryptocurrencies. 

One such example is Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who said the crypto industry needs “rules of the road” in order to protect consumers. 

“I don’t want to wait until a whole lot of people, a whole lot of small investors, a whole lot of small traders have been completely wiped out,” Warren said on a CNBC interview in July. 

Gary Gensler, chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, agrees with Senator Warren. In fact, he’s gone further than simply saying the crypto industry needs better consumer protection laws. 

He’s also said many “crypto tokens” (as he describes them) look like unregistered securities, cryptocurrencies do not fulfill the proper function of money, and cryptocurrencies also facilitate crime. 

Just this week, Gensler doubled down, saying cryptocurrencies need to be regulated to protect the “stability of the system.”