Circle hires former CFTC, US Treasury executive as chief legal officer

Stablecoin issuer Circle has loaded its arsenal to fight the ongoing regulatory crackdown on crypto. By July 1, the role of chief legal officer and head of corporate affairs will be filled by Heath Tarbert, a top attorney with a background in all three branches of the United States government.

According to a June 8 announcement, Tarbert has served in leadership positions in all three branches of the federal government and across key regulatory agencies, including the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO), the U.S. Treasury, the Financial Stability Board, and the World Bank Group. He also served as special counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.

Tarbert joins Circle Securities nearly two years after taking on the role of chief legal officer at Citadel Securities, overseeing global legal, compliance, surveillance, and regulatory affairs. He will succeed Flavia Naves, general counsel at Circle, who reportedly announced a planned separation from the company earlier this year.

“The opportunity to welcome Heath’s expertise and leadership to our executive team is an extraordinary step in Circle’s growth as a global company,” said Circle’s CEO Jeremy Allaire.

Tarbert’s arrival comes amid renewed regulatory uncertainty around crypto in the United States. Earlier this week, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sued cryptocurrency exchanges Coinbase and Binance on various charges. Since the FTX debacle last November, the crypto space has faced regulatory scrutiny, hurting businesses and driving capital abroad.

In a recent interview with Bloomberg, Allaire blamed the crypto crackdown by U.S. regulators for the decline in market capitalization of its stablecoin, USD Coin (USDC). Over the past 12 months, USDC’s stablecoin market share has dropped from 34.88% to 23.05%. The current regulatory environment in the U.S. has favored Tether’s USDT stablecoin, whose market share has grown to 65.89% from 47.04% a year ago.

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