By Salman Banaei
I’ve committed my entire career to making markets work better. From my early days working in public service in the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), to leading Regulatory Affairs and Blockchain at IHS Markit (n/k/a S&P Global) and then Public Policy at Chainalysis, the common thread through my career has been a mission to make markets safer, more resilient, and more transparent – for everyone and especially the broader public.
That’s why I’m so excited to become the Head of Policy at Uniswap Labs, which shares this same mission that has motivated me for decades.
Looking back, it was the 2008 financial crisis that set in motion two chain reactions that converge in my new role at Uniswap Labs. The first was the public policy response to the global financial crisis – notably the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act– and its goal to reform the markets that had failed the public during the crisis. These regulations aimed to democratize markets, increase investor protection, and reduce systemic risk. At the CFTC, I led Dodd-Frank teams implementing reforms to the US derivatives markets, introducing rules to increase their transparency, competitiveness, and stability.
My contributions were recognized by the then-Chairman, who awarded me the Staff Excellence Award. In my final years at the CFTC, I helped negotiate a number of financial reforms as Senior Counsel and Policy Advisor to the late Commissioner Bart Chilton.
The second chain reaction was the technological response to the crisis, particularly Satoshi Nakamoto’s Bitcoin white paper, which set a blueprint for more inclusive and frictionless financial services. I was intrigued by the potential for trustless finance to reduce the reliance on opaque, rent-seeking middlemen while empowering innovators and individuals. Bitcoin was the first decentralized finance (DeFi) protocol, as it consciously created decentralized payments relying on no trusted intermediaries. Subsequent DeFi protocols have shown the potential to reduce barriers to entry while addressing long-established financial policy goals of investor protection, fair competition, market integrity, transparency, and financial stability. Over the next decade, DeFi may also play an essential role in the merger of digital assets and traditional finance.
Uniswap Labs is situated right at the heart of it – reflecting Dodd-Frank’s goal to democratize markets and Nakomoto’s goal to reduce the frictions in transferring value. The Uniswap Protocol, which Labs helped create, has been a breakthrough invention that can accomplish what we tried so hard to implement at the CFTC across a range of Dodd-Frank reforms. Like internet protocols before it, the true potential of this technology can only be realized with constructive and engaged public sector leadership.
At Uniswap Labs, I’m excited to engage with policymakers and others worldwide to establish clear rules of the road so that we can realize the common goals of the public sector and innovators like Satoshi Nakomoto and Hayden Adams. Policymakers and innovators must work together to build a more inclusive, competitive, democratic, resilient, and secure financial system – one where markets work better for everyone.
To get involved and stay up to date:
- Join the Uniswap community discord
- Follow Uniswap Labs on Twitter
- Subscribe to the Uniswap Labs blog
- Register as a delegate on Sybil
- Participate in Uniswap governance
Uniswap Team 🦄