Solidus Hires Ex-Head of CFPB to Be Top Regulatory Official

Crypto trading surveillance startup Solidus Labs said Thursday it has hired the former head of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to lead its regulatory team. 

Kathy Kraninger, who served as the CFPB’s director from 2018 until she resigned in January, will oversee Solidus Labs’ regulatory strategy and build a global team to work with governments that are looking more closely at digital asset markets and how to regulate them.

Solidus makes market surveillance tools to flag manipulation across cryptocurrency trading platforms. This ability is seen as crucial to helping U.S. regulators finally approve a cryptocurrency exchange-traded fund (ETF).

In an interview Thursday, Solidus CEO Asaf Meir declined to estimate when such an ETF might be approved. But he did say that “the rails and infrastructure [are] much more mature, and there’s the right players in the market to usher in that type of instrument in a safe way. I can’t say if it’s going to be in a year or two, but we’re moving towards there.”

Kraninger said her experience at the CFPB will likely prove useful in her new role.

“I spent a lot of time at the bureau really thinking about innovation in fintech and promoting that engagement between government and industry, so I’m very excited to further that,” Kraninger told CoinDesk.  “And I certainly have a lot of experience with how regulators think.”

Kraninger is the latest Trump administration regulator to join a cryptocurrency company. Former bank regulator Brian Brooks was appointed the CEO of Binance U.S. in May, while Chris Giancarlo, the former head of the U.S. derivatives regulator, is an investor in Solidus and the founder of the Digital Dollar Project, which supports the development of a digital dollar. 

Kraninger had previously held senior  government positions at the Office of Management and Budget, the departments of Homeland Security and Transportation, and in both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives. 

She was asked to resign when President Joe Biden took office. 

In May, Solidus Labs announced that it had raised $20 million in a Series A investment round led by Evolution Equity Partners and that included Hanaco Ventures, which led the startup’s $3.75 seed round in early 2019. 

Other investors in the Series A round included FTX and VC Avon Ventures, which is affiliated with Fidelity Investments. Several former regulators also joined the round, including Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) alumni Giancarlo and Daniel Gorfine, and former Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Commissioner Troy Paredes.

UPDATE (July 22, 16:38 UTC): This story was updated to include quotes from Meir and Kraninger in the fourth and sixth paragraphs.