CFTC Taps Coinbase Lawyer to Head Division Overseeing Bitcoin Futures

Nikhilesh De

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has just named Coinbase vice president Dorothy DeWitt as its new market supervisor.

CFTC Chairman Heath Tarbert announced in a press release Tuesday that DeWitt, who is also the exchange’s general counsel for business lines and markets, will be the new director of the Division of Market Oversight (DMO), the group responsible for overseeing derivatives platforms and products, including the young market for bitcoin futures.

DeWitt has also spent time at Citadel Securities, S&P Global and Davis Polk & Wardwell, and has previously been a portfolio manager.

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Her new role will see her evaluating and potentially approving new bitcoin derivatives products in the U.S. DMO has examined CME, Cboe and Bakkt’s various bitcoin futures proposals in the past.

She succeeds former DMO director Amir Zaidi, who oversaw the first bitcoin futures contracts as they entered the crypto space in late 2017.

In a statement, Tarbert thanked Zaidi “for his more than nine years of service at the CFTC,” saying:

“[DeWitt] brings to the CFTC more than 20 years of private sector experience in the financial services and legal fields. Her strong investment, risk, legal, and compliance background and familiarity with distributed ledger technology, including crypto assets, will be invaluable as the agency looks to develop a holistic approach to regulating 21st century commodities.”

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Former DMO director Vince McGonagle has been serving as acting director of the division during the transition period.

Tarbert first took office in July 2019, after Congress confirmed him in June. The former Treasury Department official succeeded Christopher Giancarlo, who was famously dubbed “Crypto Dad” after advocating for a “do no harm” approach to regulating the crypto space before Congress.

Since leaving the agency, Giancarlo has joined the advisory board to the Chamber of Digital Commerce, a trade association focused on blockchain and cryptocurrency policy in Washington D.C.

Dorothy DeWitt image via CoinDesk archives

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