The Securities & Exchange Commission has a new cryptocurrency chief.
Valerie Szczepanik will serve as the associate director of the Division of Corporation Finance and the senior adviser for digital assets and innovation. In other words, she’ll be responsible on advising the agency on how U.S. securities laws apply to emerging digital asset tech, such as cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings
“Valerie’s thought leadership in this area is recognized both within the Commission and across financial regulators in the United States and abroad,” said SEC Chairman Jay Clayton in a news release. He added that Szczepanik will look further into this “dynamic area that has both promise and risk.”
She will be working with the division director Bill Hinman, who said she recognized the need to closely pay attention to blockchain, cryptocurrencies, tokenized securities, and other digital industries. (Read an explainer on tokenized securities here.)
The cryptocurrency market is still in its “Wild West” phase as regulators try to figure out how to proceed. Clayton has previously said that the majority of ICOs should be registered with the agency because the coins trade on secondary markets like other securities the SEC regulates.
Fortune spoke with Blockchain Capital’s Bart Stephens recently, and he said there is still plenty of regulatory uncertainty when it comes to token issuance. “The SEC has told us a bunch of things that they don’t like, but what they haven’t really told market participants is what is allowable,” he said. “There’s a little bit of ongoing uncertainty, but it’s my hope that they are thoughtful and careful when making these decisions.”
Szczepanik joined the SEC in 1997, and she most recently served as an assistant director in the division of enforcement’s cyber unit. She was also previously the head of the SEC’s distributed ledger working group, which was founded in 2013. Szczepanik said in the release that she’s “excited to take on this new role” and looks forward to protect investors, “particularly Main Street investors.”