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Ex-SEC Official Hired by Coinbase

Coinbase hired a former SEC Official during a critical moment right before public listing.

Brett Redfearn is Coinbase’s new VP of product for capital markets – a very strategic hire just as Coinbase prepares to hit the public markets.

Last Tuesday, Coinbase announced that it has hired Brett Redfearn, who lately served as Director of the Security and Exchange Commission’s trading and market’s division, to be its new VP of Product for Capital Markets.

It is a cunning hire at a critical juncture for Coinbase, which will publicly list its shares in the next weeks. The company also navigates an uncertain regulatory environment in Washington, DC, and around the world.

Redfearn “will be responsible for defining and driving a vision and strategy to set the global standard for crypto capital markets, including digital asset securities and our crypto trading platform,” Coinbase Chief of Product Surojit Chatterjee states in a company blog post. The post highlights that Redfearn will report to Chatterjee.

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A veteran from JP Morgan, Redfearn has led over 250 staff members at the SEC in a division which mandated the involved developing new rules for cryptocurrency markets.

At Coinbase, Redfearn will play a key role in helping the company navigate an agency that many in the industry feel has been hostile to crypto in the past. Recently, President Jose Biden named Gary Gensler, a former banker and MIT economics professor as the new Chair of the SEC.

Although Gensler’s appointment is still awaiting Senate confirmation and it is unclear for now if he will adopt favorable policies towards crypto than his predecessors did.

Chatterjee also described how Coinbase’s acquisition of prime brokerage, last year, Tagomi helped it attract large institutional clients – a trend that Redfearn will be tasked with expanding.

Redfearn’s hiring also underscores a developing web of relationships between Coinbase and federal agencies. And until recently, for instance, the company’s former head legal officer, Brian Brooks, occupied the role of head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

And Coinbase is not the only crypto company that loads up on former government officials or politicians. Blockchain.com brought this month on President Obama’s former “fixer” Jim Messina and former Hillary Clinton campaign staffer Lane Kasselman. Binance also hired US Senator Max Baucus as an advisor. One River Asset Management, which made a $1 billion bet on crypto last year, had added the former SEC Chair Jay Clayton as its advisor.

All these crypto companies and crypto-invested firms have seen the writing on the wall: to navigate the imminent government regulation, and they will need help from those who used to be in the government.

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