Chris Giancarlo ’84 named Chevalier in the National Order of Merit by French government

J. Christopher Giancarlo, Class of 1984, former chairman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, has been awarded the rank of Chevalier in the French National Order of Merit by President Emmanuel Macron.

J. Christopher Giancarlo ’84

Giancarlo is a Wall Street lawyer and business figure renowned in the financial world for his expertise in cryptocurrency. The award will be presented to him in June at the French Embassy in Washington, D.C.

“This honor reflects the French authorities’ great respect for your understanding of financial markets and the potentials of cryptofinance,” France’s Ambassador to the U.S. Phillippe Etienne informed Giancarlo. “It also acknowledges our gratitude for your support for French culture and the French language as a longtime trustee of the French American Academy. The success of that institution owes a great deal to your advice and vision.”

Giancarlo was humbled by the Chevalier honor. “As the grandson of a French emigree, I am honored to receive the National Order of Merit. It recognizes the creation of well-regulated crypto trading markets and strengthening of overseas regulatory ties with the help of many fine public servants during my time of government service. It also confirms the critical role of bilingual elementary education in furthering cross border deference and understanding,” he said.

The Order of Merit was established by French President Charles deGaulle in 1963 for “distinguished merit” in service to France and the causes it supports. It is rare for a non-citizen of France to receive the Order of Merit. Recent American honorees include poet Joseph Brodsky, composer Quincy Jones, writer Toni Morrison, technology magnate Bill Gates, and film directors Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese.

Known as “CryptoDad” for his celebrated call on the U.S. Congress to respect a new generation’s interest in cryptocurrency, Giancarlo was the thirteenth chairman of the United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Considered one of the most influential individuals in financial regulation, he also served as a member of the U.S. Financial Stability Oversight Committee and the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets and on the executive board of the International Organization of Securities Commissions.

Giancarlo is the author of CryptoDad: The Fight for the Future of Money (Wiley, 2021), an account of his oversight of the world’s first regulated market for Bitcoin derivatives and the coming transformation of financial services.

Giancarlo is senior counsel to international law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher. He is a board director, advisor and angel investor in numerous technology and financial services companies. He is a co-founder of the Digital Dollar Project, a not-for-profit initiative to advance exploration of a U.S. Central Bank Digital Currency.