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Coinbase, a16z among firms amping up policy hires amid ‘critical’ SEC battle

Coinbase, a16z among firms amping up policy hires amid ‘critical’ SEC battle
Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong is hiring staff as his company's litigation with the SEC intensifies.
  • Paradigm and Coinbase have both added recent hires to work on policy and government relations.
  • Regulatory environment in the US has been heated since the collapse of FTX last year.

Coinbase, Andreessen Horowitz’s a16z Crypto, Paradigm, Uniswap and Kraken are among the crypto-focused firms bulking up their policy muscles with new recruitment boosts.

The hiring push comes as US regulators and law enforcement crack down on crypto through lawsuits, arrests, and enforcement actions on the back of last year’s string of scandals, which culminated with the collapse of FTX in November.

The policy recruitment drive also comes on the back of follows a brutal year that saw an estimated 30,000 crypto workers cut. Coinbase kicked off layoffs last June, when it froze hiring and cut 18% of its staff.

Here’s who’s hiring:

Coinbase

Coinbase hired a new head of policy communications this week and is recruiting for several senior-level compliance positions with stated regulatory duties.

The crypto exchange, embroiled in a legal battle with the Securities and Exchange Commission, hired Julia Krieger as its US policy communications lead.

“We can harness the power of a technology as big as the internet to grow jobs, strengthen American competitiveness and deliver economic freedom across the globe,” Krieger wrote on Twitter.

“It’s time to update the system — America ought to lead the way,” she concluded.

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Krieger joins from the US Department of Treasury, where she clocked up almost a year and a half as a spokesperson. She has worked as a White House communications director.

A16z

Andreessen Horowitz is seeking a policy partner to join its “deep bench of policy and regulatory experts, with backgrounds from the Hill, the State Department, SEC, CFTC, and DOJ, to craft and advance our overarching policy platform,” the firm said on its website.

Paradigm

Paradigm, the venture investor started by Coinbase co-founder Fred Ersham, announced a new head of government affairs on Monday.

Paradigm added Alexander Grieve as its government affairs lead. Grieve joins the investment firm having spent the last two years working in public relations in Washington for Tiger Hill Partners.

He previously spent four years working for the Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation.

Uniswap

Uniswap Protocol, the largest decentralised trading and automated market making protocol on Ethereum, is seeking a government affairs hire to register as a lobbyist.

The person will “continuously monitor federal and state policy issues to ensure that Uniswap Labs is able to influence relevant public policy considerations,” a June listing on the Blockchain Association’s site said.

Kraken

Kraken’s US operations team is seeking a compliance associate.

Among the “skills you should HODL” for a compliance expert role at Kraken, knowledge of anti-money laundering requirements, and US know-your-customer requirements and regulations, a job listing says.

‘A critical juncture for crypto policy’

The US is at a “critical juncture for crypto policy,” Grieve wrote on LinkedIn, adding that there are “multiple foundational bills on the Hill, activist regulators, and international rivals establishing their own regimes to woo crypto founders to their shores.”

The SEC has stepped up its approach to regulating crypto this year.

The agency slapped Kraken with a $30 million fine in February for its staking programme. The exchange had to cease its staking services as part of the settlement.

SEC Chair Gary Gensler has continued to come down on the crypto industry since. The agency issued a Wells Notice to big Coinbase in April. The crypto exchange responded by suing the regulator. It claims its lawsuit is an effort to seek regulatory clarity.

Crypto firms are also searching for talent to tackle regulations and policies elsewhere — wallet venture Ledger is hunting for a new head of regulatory affairs in Europe.

To share tips or information about Coinbase and Paradigm’s hires or another story, please contact me at adam@dlnews.com.