Former Ripple advisor Michael Barr to head OCC: Report

Former Ripple advisor Michael Barr is reportedly expected to head the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) under Joe Biden’s administration.

The Wall Street Journal reported the news, citing “people familiar with the decision.” If named and confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Barr will succeed Brian Brooks, the former Coinbase executive who served as Acting Comptroller from May 2020 to January 2021. 

Barr is currently a dean at the University of Michigan Ford School of Public Policy and previously served in Barack Obama’s administration as the Treasury Department’s assistant secretary for financial institutions and was a key architect of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. The OCC is an independent branch of the Treasury Department and regulates all national banks, as well as federal branches of foreign banks.

Barr joined Ripple’s advisory board in 2015, and at the time, he said: “Our global payments system is badly outdated. I think innovation in payments can help make the financial system safer, reduce cost, and improve access and efficiency for consumers and businesses alike.”

Ripple is currently fighting a legal battle with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The firm and two of its executives — CEO Brad Garlinghouse and co-founder Chris Larsen — are accused of raising billions of dollars via unregistered securities sales of XRP.

Ripple, in general, appears to be optimistic about the new Biden administration. Garlinghouse has said that the company is ready to work with new leaderships “to chart a path forward for blockchain and crypto innovation in the U.S.”

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