- Emma Rose Bienvenu serves as the chief of staff at crypto hedge fund Pantera Capital.
- A big part of her role includes talking to regulators and lawmakers about the crypto landscape.
- This article is part of Rise of the Crypto Economy, a series that explores how crypto is reshaping and driving innovation in the global economy.
Emma Rose Bienvenu wears a lot of hats at one of the oldest cryptocurrency- and blockchain-focused hedge funds in the industry.
As chief of staff of $5 billion Pantera Capital, Bienvenu spends half her time working directly with the firm's chief investment officer, Joey Krug, helping to deploy capital and keeping a close eye on the markets. The other half is dedicated to interfacing with regulators and elected officials to help them understand how the cryptocurrency landscape intersects with securities law.
"It's very hard to find people that both understand securities law and CFTC stuff and also understand that the tech and a lot of the proposed rules are based on kind of inaccurate assumptions about how the technology works," Bienvenu told Insider.
Pantera Capital's funds invest across blockchain companies, venture equity, and directly in digital assets, such as Bitcoin. The firm was founded by Tiger Management alum Dan Morehead in 2003 with just $1 billion in institutional assets.
A lawyer by trade, Bienvenu worked for multiple law firms before getting into finance. She previously spent time working for Canadian pension giant Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, conducting due diligence on private investments, and drafting and reviewing deal and contract agreements for M&A and synthetic derivatives teams.
One of Bienvenu's favorite parts of her current role is to help regulators and politicians shape cryptocurrency policy and regulation.
"There's a bit of a trope, I think in pop culture, that crypto people are all Libertarians that just want the government to go home," she said. "I don't think that's true at all, right? I think serious people in the ecosystem are desperate for regulatory clarity and sound policy, but obviously concerned about striking a balance between protecting consumers from fraud or abuse. But also not killing innovation or sending talent overseas. That's the delicate balance and the needle that needs to be threaded."
Bienvenu works both sides of the aisle
Typically, employees of senators and representatives will call Bienvenu to better understand the cryptocurrency ecosystem, and how the industry would react to proposed laws and regulations.
Politicians look to Bienvenu as she has experience working on a bunch of Pantera's portfolio projects on legal-related issues.
"They need to understand the legal structure as we know — what is the securities law and the CFTC regulation that is relevant to them? Where is there the gray area, where's like the lack of clarity? And then given that, how can they best position themselves to be compliant, given how we expect things to turn out on the regulatory front," Bienvenu said of her work at Pantera.
On the flip side, this allows Bienvenu to inform regulators and politicians about main issues the cryptocurrency industry is facing, whether it be what's stopping people from buying certain products or more clarity about the inner workings of the industry.
Bienvenu believes that the industry does need better disclosures in certain areas, particularly for centralized lenders. Since the crypto market has plunged, crypto lenders and their counterparties have grappled with staying afloat. Celsius and CoinFlex halted customer withdrawals due to the current market cycle. Celsius eventually filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
She believes forcing these types of banks to disclose how long it would take customers to get their money back and implementing disclosures that retail investors would actually understand — even if they're one-pagers — would be healthy for the cryptocurrency space.
Bienvenu is also keeping a close eye on stablecoin regulation, which is expected to roll out sometime this year, according to CoinDesk. The federal law is expected to "require stablecoin issuers to have proper reserves and disclose their holdings," the publication noted. Bienvenu is working with staff members of a few senators that are rolling out the rule.
"I think it's a pretty healthy step to require audits and disclosures of collateral," she said.