Heath Tarbert is chairman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission. He was confirmed by the US Senate on June 5, 2019 and started as the agency's 14th chairman on July 15, 2019, succeeding "Crypto Dad" J. Christopher Giancarlo.
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Before joining the CFTC, Tarbert was acting under secretary for international affairs at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, starting in April 2019. He was sworn in as assistant secretary for international markets in October 2017. As under secretary, he was responsible for US interests in multilateral organizations on financial stability and regulatory issues. He also was tasked with promoting growth, negotiating trade agreements and advocating for standards for US firms.
Prior to his U.S. Treasury service, he was a partner at Allen & Overy, in its global financial regulatory practice. He also served as a special counsel to the Senate Banking Committee, associate counsel to President George W. Bush and a law clerk to Chief Judge Douglas Ginsberg of the US Court of Appeals of the DC Circuit and Justice Clarence Thomas of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Ahead of any official statements or relevant actions by the CFTC, on October 10, 2019, Tarbert told the Yahoo! Finance All Markets Summit, "It is my view as chairman of the CFTC that Ether is a commodity.” He said that the CFTC was working with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on bitcoin and they both agreed that neither are securities. He also told the audience that the CFTC was ready to approve Ether futures. Later that month, Tarbert said at DC Fintech Week that a security can turn into a commodity, and vice versa. Despite his earlier statements about Ether being a commodity, Tarbert told CoinDesk’s November 2020 Invest: NYC conference the CFTC and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) were both “thinking carefully” about the upcoming Ethereum 2.0 upgrade which will replace the coin’s current proof-of-work (PoW) model.
He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Mount St. Mary’s University, a Juris Doctorate and SJD from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Doctor of Philosophy from Oxford University.