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SEC Seeking Digital Asset Experts for Visiting Scholars Program

June 11, 2019

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) invites qualified professors or PhDs with expertise in the digital asset industry to express interest in opportunities available at its Washington, DC headquarters and 11 regional offices throughout the United States.  At least one and possibly two visiting scholar opportunities will be available for a period of one year.

A visiting scholar at the SEC will have an unparalleled opportunity to be directly involved in the work of the SEC and to gain insight into the SEC's oversight and regulatory processes.  This opportunity is a remarkable way to spend a sabbatical year or a leave of absence and provides experience that will greatly enhance subsequent research and teaching activities.  


Each scholar will have one or more of the following areas of responsibility:

  • Participating in FinHub. The scholar(s) will participate in the SEC’s Strategic Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology, including through active engagement with industry groups.   
  • Consulting with SEC Staff. The scholar(s) will consult with SEC staff in their area of expertise. Consultative work includes document and data review and analysis.
  • Providing Training/Sharing Expertise. The scholar(s) will provide training to and share their expertise with SEC staff in their respective specialty areas.
  • Identifying Emerging Trends. The scholar(s) will work to identify emerging trends in their area of expertise by (1) proactively identifying emerging trends; (2) suggesting innovative initiatives; and (3) participating in ongoing initiatives.  


The scholar(s) should have specialized expertise in one or more of the following areas:

  1. Blockchain/Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT): substantive knowledge and experience with DLT.  Substantive expertise should include knowledge of relevant programming languages, tools and blockchain platforms, cryptography and hashing algorithms, mining, architecture, applications and dApps, and data analytics.  Experience should include work on real blockchain projects, performing transactions using blockchains, and programming smart contracts.  Expertise should include knowledge of relationships to other emerging technologies.
  2. Digital asset trading and markets: substantive knowledge and experience with digital asset trading platforms, broker-dealers or other digital asset businesses, including technical expertise concerning digital asset markets and participants.  Substantive expertise should include knowledge of issues concerning market structure, custody, trading, monitoring, reporting, clearance and settlement.   
  3. Digital asset private funds: substantive knowledge and experience with digital asset funds, advisers or other related digital asset businesses, including technical expertise concerning digital asset funds and participants.  Substantive expertise should include knowledge of fund structures, portfolio management and trading, fund operations, fund due diligence, fund governance and risk management, asset valuation, accounting, compliance and controls, fee structures, conflicts of interest, and third-party service providers.

Compensation, Benefits, and Timing:

Faculty members at U.S. universities are hired into positions under the Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA), which allows the professor to continue as an employee of the university.  The faculty member continues to be paid by the university and receive its benefits package. The SEC, in turn, reimburses the university for the professor's salary and benefits.  Relocation to Washington, DC or a regional office may be required.  Under an IPA contract, relocation expenses to and from the Washington, DC area or a regional office are generally reimbursed in accordance with Federal Travel Regulations and standard SEC policies which apply to IPA assignments.

This opportunity is open to faculty members of U.S. universities or colleges who have been employed by their university or college for more than 90 days.  The fellowship will be for a period of one year.  Compensation will be annualized over a twelve month period and subject to negotiation between the SEC and the university.  

Application Information and Procedures:

All positions are subject to a pre-employment ethics screening of financial holdings. Divestiture of prohibited or conflicting financial holdings may be required. Individual(s) selected for a position will be subject to numerous ethics laws and regulations including the Government-wide Standards of Conduct, the criminal conflicts of interest statutes (18 USC §§ 201, 203, 205, 207, 208 and 209), as well as the SEC’s Supplemental Standards of Conduct (5 CFR Part 4401, 17 CFR Subpart M).  Individual(s) may also be subject to financial disclosure requirements, including the required filing of an OGE Form 450 (Confidential Financial Disclosure Report) or an OGE Form 278 (Public Financial Disclosure Report).  

If you are interested in applying, please send a resume and cover letter detailing your interest and availability to no later than June 28, 2019.  Please send any questions you may have to this email and we will respond as quickly as possible.

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