Jay Clayton, who was the chairman of the S.E.C. until December, is now a paid adviser to the hedge fund One River Digital Asset Management, which invests hundreds of millions of dollars in Bitcoin and Ether, two cryptocurrencies, for its clients.

The day before Mr. Clayton resigned from the S.E.C., the agency filed a lawsuit against Ripple Labs, which competes with Bitcoin, alleging that the company had improperly raised $1.3 billion from investors through what the agency claimed was effectively an illegal stock offering.

Binance.US, which runs a cryptocurrency exchange, last month hired as its chief executive Brian P. Brooks, who until January served as the acting head of the Office of Comptroller of the Currency, which helps regulate banks.

The day before he stepped down, the agency granted a conditional charter to Anchorage Digital Bank, making it the country's first national cryptocurrency bank. A spokeswoman for Mr. Brooks said Binance was not a bank, so there was no conflict.

Industry leaders in America hope to have more support from the Biden administration than from the Trump administration, pointing out, for example, that Gary Gensler, the new S.E.C. chairman, taught courses about blockchain technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

At his confirmation hearing in March, Mr. Gensler said cryptocurrencies had brought new thinking to the world of payments and financial inclusion, However, he indicated that he would strike a balance between encouraging new financial technology to flourish and protecting investors.

The cryptocurrency industry is less optimistic about Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen, who expressed deep concern this year about Bitcoin.

''It is a highly speculative asset, and I think people should beware : It can be extremely volatile,'' Ms. Yellen said at a New York Times DealBook event in February. ''And I do worry about potential losses that investors in it could suffer.''

One sign of the industry's growing clout in Washington came during the closing days of the Trump administration when the Treasury department proposed a rule to curb the use of cryptocurrencies for money laundering by requiring companies handling certain transactions over $3,000 to know the name and addresses of the customer and the recipient.

Even before Ms. Yellen's predecessor, Srteven Munchin, announced the proposed rule in December, he was targeted in industry appeals to delay or abandon the idea.

''In the early days of the Internet, there were people who called for it to be regulated like the phone companies,'' Brian Armstrong, the chief executive of Coinbase, wrote on Twitter in November, adding that he had sent a letter to the Treasury to object. ''Thank goodness they didn't.''

Thousands of such comments have been sent to Treasury

''We need to get the big prize done,'' Representative Darren Soto, Democrat of Florida and a member of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus, a group of lawmakers working with the industry to help promote cryptocurrencies, told the industry conference last month.

''Which is the statutes and jurisdiction and definitions to create that certainty, to let blockchain and cryptocurrency flow and improve in the United States.''

The World Students Society thanks authors Alan Rappeport and Ephrat Livni.


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