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On December 12, 2017, as Bitcoin was heading toward the $20,000 mark, Maria Vullo, then-new head of the New York State Department of Financial Services,) announced the creation of a state insurance advisory council, which brought together 10 experts.
The main task of this structure is to advise the department on insurance and safety issues for New Yorkers.
Here is a list of 10 people who are part of this council and have received a mandate for a period of three years, i.е. until the end of 2021:
- David W. Anderson, President and CEO of Health Now
- Chuck Bell, Director of Programs, Consumers Union
- Lucy Fato, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, AIG
- Roger W. Ferguson, Jr., TIAA President and CEO
- Karen Ignagni, President and CEO, Emblem Health
- Deanna Mulligan, President and CEO of Guardian Life Insurance Company
- Jacqueline Quintal, Financial Institutions Practice Leader, Aon Risk Solutions
- Diane K. Spicer, Supervisory Board Member, Community Health Advocates, Healthcare for All New York Campaign, Community Service Society
- Bernie Turi, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Utica National Insurance Group
- Michael Zarcone, Executive Vice President and Head of Corporate Affairs at MetLife.
As you can see, the list mainly includes “big shots” from the insurance industry and the healthcare system. The question arises: what does the cryptosphere have to do with it? This will become clear a little later, but for now, let’s pay special attention to one character from this list.
Roger W. Ferguson, Jr. (Roger W. Ferguson, Jr.). From 1981 to 1984, Mr. Ferguson worked as an attorney in the New York office of Davis Polk & Wardwell, a large law firm, overseeing commercial banks, investment banks, and Fortune 500 corporations.
Since November 1997 – Member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve (FRS) of the United States.
From 1999 to 2006, he served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Board of Governors of the US Federal Reserve.
What is Ferguson remembered for in high office at the Federal Reserve? He was the sole governor of the Fed’s board in Washington, D.C. at the time of the September 11, 2001 attacks. It was he who was responsible for the initial response of the Federal Reserve to terrorist attacks. His skillful handling of the crisis was highly commended and also earned him the goodwill and patronage of Alan Greenspan.
It was Ferguson that Greenspan proposed to the Bush administration as his successor as head of the Fed. But the White House made a bet on Ben Bernanke, and on February 22, 2006, Ferguson submitted his resignation to President George W. Bush. He officially said goodbye to the Fed on April 28, 2006, and on June 29, 2016, he became a member of the board of directors of Alphabet Inc (Google).
While we will not go into details, just remember: this is a very influential figure in the US financial and legal establishment.
Let’s go back to the list and consider the next expert.
Annette LaPorte Nazareth (Annette LaPorte Nazareth)
After graduating in law, Nazareth has been with the law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell since 1981, and from 1994 to 1997 he was Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Lehman Brothers. From 1997 to 1998 – Managing Director of Citigroup Salomon Smith Barney, Deputy Head of the Capital Markets Department.
In 1998, Nazareth was included in the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) – as a senior adviser to former SEC chairman Arthur Levitt. For some time she is acting director of the investment management department. Then, for 6 years, he heads the SEC Market Regulation Department (from March 1999 to August 2005), i.e. bears the burden of personal responsibility for overseeing what happens in the US securities markets.
Ms. Nazareth is a member of the US Democratic Party, but she was appointed to the openly political post of SEC Commissioner in August 2005 by Republican President George W. Bush. This is strange only at first glance, because the party quota is clearly stipulated in the SEC charter – no more than 3 commissioners from one party. The Republicans were simply forced to offer a high position to the Democrats.
In his role as Commissioner, Nazareth is leading numerous initiatives, advocating for the introduction of the principles of carefully considered regulation in the work of the Commission, promoting the “Consolidated Supervision” (CSE) program. The main feature of the approach is the principle of a voluntary supervisory regime for the largest national holding companies and investment banks.
Many pundits later lamented that the campaign to give giant banks too much “self-regulation” freedom played a role. trigger crisis of 2008. But Mrs. Nazareth leaves her post in the SEC just on the eve of the mentioned crisis, and Christopher Cox, who replaced her in September 2008, soon reports that the Commission has decided to curtail the CSE program.
The successor did everything possible to ensure that the controversial program was not associated with the 2008 crisis and personally with Nazareth. Nevertheless, it was the excessive “freedom” of banks – in terms of speculation in the mortgage market with a high degree of risk – that served as the trigger for the local mortgage lending crisis. A little later, the 2008 crisis swept the US banking system as a whole, and then the global financial world.
But, as they say, the main thing is to leave on time, and Ms. Nazareth calmly returns to the Davis Polk & Wardwell law firm, this time as a partner and head of the New York-headquartered company.
Davis Polk & Wardwell has a transnational status, and one of the main functions of the company is the role of an intermediary in relations between leading financial and investment structures and regulatory authorities around the world. The company is responsible for tailoring national regulatory laws to the interests of Davis Polk & Wardwell clients. Simply put, they are professional and very cool lobbyists.
Now let’s think about the crypto industry.
We do not know if Davis Polk & Wardwell is involved in the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYSDFS) BitLicense code of practice, but the company’s lawyers are undoubtedly involved in lobbying the interests of the entities that received the said license.
Among the clients of Davis Polk & Wardwell, in particular, is the Intercontinental exchange (ICE) exchange network and its division, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). What does ICE have to do with cryptocurrencies, you ask? Direct – through the BAKKT digital asset trading platform.
BAKKT is a division of the NYSE managed by Kelly Leffler and Geoffrey Spratcher.
Kelly Leffler and Jeffrey Spratcher are not just spouses: Jeffrey combines the positions of CEO of two structures at once – ICE and NYSE. But legal support is provided to them by an “old friend” – Annette Nazareth.
The BAKKT platform recently announced a partnership with Galaxy Digital, a Mike Novogratz (Mike Novogratz).
As part of the new project, Galaxy will provide access to the digital asset market (physical liquidity), and BAKKT will ensure the safety of virtual currencies for Galaxy Digital customers.
Recall that it was cooperation with Mike Novogratz that allowed the US prosecutor’s office to charge Tether management with illegal activities. Novogratz and his company have US jurisdiction, and prosecutors managed to collect documents confirming Novogratz’s business ties with Tether.
And, of course, Davis Polk & Wardwell, already well known to us, will be lobbying for the interests of the emerging alliance of BAKKT and Galaxy Digital (and at the same time the problems of relations with the leadership of the State of New York and American government structures).
What does the previously mentioned influential gentleman have to do with all of the above? Roger Ferguson Jr? The most immediate. It is with him that Mrs. Nazareth will mainly have to negotiate on the settlement of legal conflicts that arise in relations with the Department of Financial Services of the State of New York.
However, she will not have any special difficulties, because Roger Ferguson Jr. and Annette LaPorte Nazareth – spouses. Moreover, the Ferguson-Nazareth couple will eliminate excessive competition, making it more difficult for potential licensees to obtain a BitLicense.
But that’s not all. Since 2018, Annette Nazareth has been providing consulting services to the company Bitfury, which specializes in the development of software and the production of equipment for “mining” bitcoin on the BTC.com pool. A exclusive partner Bitfury — Blockstream — is famous for its proprietary technical solutions. So, on October 12, 2015, Blockstream announced the release of a prototype capable of transferring assets between the Liquid Sidechain and the main BTC blockchain. These companies are the leading developers of the Liquid Network, which allows you to quickly and reliably transfer transaction data between members of your network, bypassing the main Bitcoin network (by writing data to the BTC blockchain in blocks and with a delay).
In addition, the head of Blockstream – Adam Back – stood at the origins of the creation of Bi
tcoin and corresponded with the legendary Satoshi Nakamoto. Back’s name has been honored with a mention in the “sacred tablet” of crypto enthusiasts – in the “White Paper” Bitcoin whitepaper.
Blockstream is also the largest sponsor of the Bitcoin Core group, which is responsible for the development and implementation of updates to the “holy of holies” – the source code of the Bitcoin network. This largely explains the success of the Liquid network.
It’s time to mention another character in our story – Matthew Rozaka
Matthew Rozak is a fairly well-known crypto investor and is said to be a buddy of Brock Pierce. Mr. Rozak served on the board of directors of the startup Noble Markets, which owned the layer bank Noble Bank International. This structure provided cover for Tether for a long time. In addition, Rozak’s “piggy bank” contains solid stakes in BitFury and Blockstream, which indirectly hints at Matthew’s connection with Annette Nazareth.
It’s time to think about the federal District Court for the Southern District of New York. It was here that hearings were held on most of the most high-profile processes in the crypto industry – both in the case against Bitfinex and Tether, and in the Gram project of Pavel Durov.
U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman (Geoffrey Berman). He earned a name and loud fame by sending Donald Trump’s personal lawyer to jail, as well as an attempt to initiate impeachment proceedings against the US president. However, the ambitious undertaking failed miserably.
The SEC has been suing Tether and Bitfinex in the Southern District Court for three years now. At one time, the Commission had reasonable doubts about the security of the Tether token – and then $ 2 billion was at stake.
Today, Tether’s balance exceeds $10 billion, but no one has yet been able to achieve an adequate audit of the stablecoin’s financial solvency through the courts.
So, why are any cases (even Gram and Pavel Durov) considered by the court promptly, but the history of Tether, Bitfinex and their affiliates drags on for years? We believe that the pace of consideration is largely determined by the degree of involvement and private interests of the prosecutor of the Southern District.
The interests and ambitions of the opponents of the powerful “New York” group – let’s call them the “Federals” – is the subject of the third part of the material iSpace.news
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