Circle CEO Embraces Regulation and Welcomes Former Regulator to the Team

Circle, the fintech startup behind a major stablecoin in the crypto industry, has appointed Heath Tarbert as its new chief legal officer amid ongoing SEC enforcement operations against exchanges. 

Tarbert, who currently serves as chief legal officer and head of corporate affairs at Citadel Securities, will join Circle in July. 

Become a Subscriber

Please purchase a subscription to continue reading this article.

Subscribe Now

The company highlighted Tarbert's extensive government experience in positions at the Treasury Department, Justice Department, Supreme Court, Senate Banking Committee, and White House.

Circle's decision to bring Tarbert on board comes shortly after CEO Jeremy Allaire's feature on the Forbes cover. 

Tarbert will play a crucial role in collaborating with government agencies and countries on complex global regulatory and policy matters, including corporate governance, mergers and acquisitions, and regulatory negotiations.

The move comes at a time when Circle's stablecoin, USDC, has faced challenges, with its market valuation declining and losing ground to its primary competitor, Tether, following Silicon Valley Bank's bankruptcy, which briefly disrupted USDC's dollar peg. 

Circle believes that stablecoin legislation is necessary to prevent future tragedies and restore faith in the US dollar and digital assets.

Circle has always been a proponent of regulation to safeguard online money and payment systems from concerns related to fractional reserve banking.

Since Silicon Valley Bank's closure in March, USDC's market capitalization has dropped by 32%, from $42 billion to $28.5 billion, marking its lowest circulating supply since September 2021.

Interestingly, Circle faced a financial crisis in March despite prior warnings from authorities about the potential harm of cryptocurrencies to banks. 

While the SEC's case against Coinbase does not specifically mention USDC, the exchange collaborated with Circle on the token's protocol. Circle and Coinbase co-founded the CENTRE Consortium, responsible for developing USDC, the first stablecoin added to Coinbase in 2018.

Circle, along with other stablecoin issuers, is actively lobbying Capitol Hill for two prospective stablecoin measures. 

Allaire emphasized the significance of Tarbert's international expertise at the World Bank and International Organization of Securities Commissions, believing it will play a crucial role in building strong relationships with governments worldwide and driving the desired changes in the global economic system.

Blockchain data analyst Brett Singer from Glassnode has observed unusual on-chain data related to USDC, suggesting potential turmoil in the crypto market. 

He highlighted a rare event where 15,000 wallets sold their USDC in just five hours. Singer cautiously noted the spike in Tether-holding digital wallets and the need to closely monitor the situation.

As Circle strengthens its legal team with Tarbert's appointment, the company aims to navigate the complex regulatory landscape, restore stability to the USDC market, and continue advocating for comprehensive stablecoin legislation to protect digital assets and bolster confidence in the US dollar.