Coinbase Expands its Team with High Profile Professionals

Californian cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase is set to benefit from an injection of fresh talent to its rapidly growing ranks.

Established in June 2012, Coinbase is a digital currency wallet and trading platform where traders and buyers can conduct transactions using new cryptocurrencies, such as Ethereum, Bitcoin, and Litecoin. The San Francisco-based company’s management team has been busy hiring a raft of high calibre personnel and this week was proud to reveal its new Chief Legal Officer, Brian Brooks who will be responsible for its newly expanded legal, compliance, and government affairs teams.

Formerly Brooks was the executive vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary of Fannie Mae, the US mortgage finance company, where he was in charge of the legal department and government relations group of the company. He was also a senior advisor to the Chief Executive Officer and Board of Directors.

Previously Brooks was Vice Chairman at OneWest Bank’s and a partner in law firm O’Melveny & Myers LLP and Financial Services Practice Group. Meanwhile, Mike Lempres, who was at the helm of Coinbase’s legal department as Chief Legal and Risk Officer, is moved into the role of Chief Policy Officer and has now been put in charge of Coinbase’s government affairs programme. For example, the exchange’s involvement in the newly established Blockchain Association, as well as coordinating the Coinbase political action committee (PAC).

Former Head of Analytics and Data Science of LinkedIn, Michael Li, has also come on board as Vice-President of Data and last month Coinbase appointed Tim Wagner, who previously worked at the former Amazon Web Services and Microsoft, in the role of Vice-President of Engineering.

This July, Coinbase has also hired Jeff Horowitz, the former Global Head of Compliance at Pershing, as Chief Compliance Officer and Jennifer Jones, Senior Manager of EY, as Chief Accounting Officer.

In April, Alesia Haas from Oz Management, joined the group as Chief Financial Officer, Rachael Horwitz, a partner at Spark Capital, as Vice President of Communications and Tariq Meyers, formerly the Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Lyft, as Global Head of Belonging and Inclusion. Balaji Srinivasan joined Coinbase as Chief Technology Officer via the company’s acquisition of the firm where he was Chief Executive Officer. And, earlier in the spring, Emilie Choi, Head of Corporate Development at LinkedIn was taken on in the role of Vice President of Corporate and Business Development.

It is obvious from these pedigree appointments of seasoned professionals from high-profile organisations that Coinbase is aiming to strengthen its leadership and management team in order to be ahead of the game.

Coinbase Chief Executive Officer, Brian Armstrong, said:

“From the time it was founded seven years ago, Coinbase has been a leading advocate for the adoption of cryptocurrency. We’ve engaged proactively with regulators as we built products and services that allow people to buy, sell and use cryptocurrency all over the world. In recent years, the industry expanded faster than we could have imagined with an explosion in customer demand and entrepreneurial activity pushing the capabilities of the ecosystem forward. As this trend continues, it is more important than ever that we contribute to a public policy and regulatory environment that fosters innovation while protecting investors.”

One of the earliest crypto players, Armstrong has evolved his company organically and has made it profitable – with Coinbase being the first crypto start-up to receive a billion dollar valuation. The company was valued at $1.6 billion in August 2017 – which is believed to be the largest ever for a crypto start-up. Armstrong now has ambitions to turn his private company, which is backed by investors such as Spark Capital, IVP and Draper Associates, into a public one on the blockchain platform. He revealed his vision at the TechCrunch Disrupt 2018 event.

By Joy Lewis.