While US government budgets have been tighter, the one area of dramatic expansion for the SEC has been around data science, technology and AI. In just a few years the commission has developed a strong tech and AI expertise.
In June of 2018, the SEC made Valerie Szczepanik Associate Director of the Division of Corporation Finance and Senior Advisor for Digital Assets and Innovation.
The newly created advisory position had the media speculate about the SEC’s “crypto czar”.
Officially, she will coordinate efforts across all SEC Divisions and Offices regarding the application of U.S. securities laws to emerging digital asset technologies and innovations, including Initial Coin Offerings and cryptocurrencies.
With a JD from Georgetown and an engineering degree from the University of Pennsylvania, Ms. Szczepanik joined the SEC in 1997 and most recently served as an Assistant Director in the Division of Enforcement’s Cyber Unit. She is the Head of the SEC’s Distributed Ledger Technology Working Group, Co-Head of its Dark Web Working Group, and a member of its FinTech Working Group.
A few months later, in October, the SEC announced the launch of the agency’s Strategic Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology (FinHub), led by Valerie Szczepanik, as “a resource for public engagement on the SEC’s FinTech-related issues and initiatives, such as distributed ledger technology (including digital assets), automated investment advice, digital marketplace financing, and artificial intelligence/machine learning.