Messari Founder Announces Senate Run as SEC Shadow Hangs Over Mainnet Conference

Messari founder Ryan Selkis announced plans to run for the U.S. Senate in 2024. Selkis has become increasingly vocal against stringent cryptocurrency regulation but the final straw, he said, was when securities regulators allegedly showed up at the conference he organized and served one of the speakers with a subpoena.

He tweeted:

“If you’re wondering when I actually decided to run for Senate, it was when these fuckers came to my event, didn’t buy a ticket, and served one of the speakers a subpoena.

“Enough talk.

“More war on our out of control regulatory state.

“Selkis 2024. Time to activate the crypto political machine.”

Selkis declined to comment further on his candidacy or the subpoena to The Defiant.

Messari was the organizer of Mainnet 2021, the first crypto conference to take place in New York City since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Mainnet kicked off Monday at the Marriott Marquis in Manhattan and runs through Wednesday afternoon. 

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SEC Inquiries

The SEC has reportedly begun inquiries into a number of organizations in the decentralized finance space.

The reference to a subpoena appears related to a tweet posted by Indiegogo founder Slava Rubin on Twitter early today about a subpoena from the U.S. Securities and Enforcement Commission (SEC).

“lol I just witnessed a guy get served by the SEC at the top of the escalator at #mainnet2021 right before going on stage for his panel”

Slava did not answer a question from The Defiant about who it was that was served, but he did answer a question about how he knew it was the SEC via direct message, writing, “It was not clear if he was personally part of the SEC, but he said you are being served by the SEC.”

Rumors Spread

The tweet quickly spread among conference-goers, with attendees dissecting the Mainnet agenda at the time Rubin tweeted at 11:17 AM Eastern time, for clues as to who might have been the targeted speaker.

Telegram chats that have sprung up around the event went ablaze with speculation (“Do we have a running list of subpoena’s that have been given out during Mainnet?” joked one attendee in a Telegram chat).

At least three people told The Defiant that they had heard the SEC has been accosting not just one person, but various DeFi projects. The name that came up the most often was stablecoin maker Terra, but Terra co-founder Do Kwon told The Defiant that he had not been served. A source familiar with the matter confirmed Gavin Wood did not receive a subpoena.

The Defiant was not able to find anyone else who had seen the entrepreneur as he was served. 

Camila Russo contributed reporting.