Outgoing CFTC commissioner Dan Berkovitz named as SEC general counsel

Dan Berkovitz, a commissioner at the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and a noted public-sector critic of decentralized finance, will serve as general counsel of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission starting in November.

The appointment was announced Tuesday in an SEC press release, alongside news that the current general counsel, John Coates, will leave next month to take a position at Harvard. "Commissioner Dan Berkovitz has been named SEC General Counsel, effective Nov. 1," the SEC said.

Berkovitz announced on September 9 that he would step down from the CFTC next month. His term was originally set to end in 2023.

"Having worked with the SEC in my roles at the CFTC, I've long admired the dedicated and talented staff of the agency from afar. I'm excited to work again with Chair Gensler on a regulatory agenda that will enhance investor protection, strengthen our capital markets, and facilitate capital formation," Berkovitz said in a statement.

Earlier this year, Berkovitz remarked publicly that decentralized finance or DeFi markets are problematic because of a lack of intermediaries, stating that he didn't "see how they are legal under the CEA," referring to the Commodity Exchange Act.

The developments come as Gensler has issued a raft of public statements about his desire to tighten SEC oversight of the crypto space. Last week, he said during an interview with the Washington Post that he wants to bring crypto "into the public policy framework."