Former staff of Obama and Clinton joins Blockchain.com
President Obama’s former “fixer” joins the board of Bitcoin wallet and exchange Blockchain.com.
Jim Messina, a Democratic Party political operative, joins the board of crypto wallet company Blockchain.com in a move that might help the company gain traction stateside.
Messina was referred to as “the fixer” in his tenure as President Obama’s White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, and also headed up Obama’s 2021 re-election campaign before creating his own consulting firm, The Messina Group.
Messina’s hire, first reported by Axios, also comes just one week after Blockchain.com hired Lane Kasselman as its chief business officer.
Kasselman worked during Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. He then later became a partner at The Messina Group after it finally acquired his public relations firm, Greenbrier.
Although Messina is known as a DC power broker, he is something of an unknown property in Silicon Valley and the larger tech sphere. Nevertheless, this is also part of a larger trend of Obama-era political honchos moving into tech advisory roles.
David Plouffe, Obama’s campaign manager in 2008, joined Uber in 2014 as its Senior VP of Policy and Strategy, five years before the company went public. Jay Carney, Obama’s second White House press secretary, took a senior VP position at Amazon in 2015.
Furthermore, Messina is familiar with the current and prospective members of the Biden administration. It includes not only President Biden himself, who served as Obama’s vice president but also his nominee for the SEC chair, Gary Gensler, who Obama appointed to be the chair of Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
Messina holds a lot of powerful names in his rolodex.
Blockchain.com has three basic products: an exchange for spot trading, a wallet for storage, and an explorer for searching Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, and ETH transactions.
It reports nearly 70 million wallets that have been created since 2011 and stated that it has helped facilitate 28% of all BTC transactions since 2012, mostly through its wallet. But because it didn’t start an exchange until 2019, it still remains a small player on that front. It then offers 31 markets for an amount of 17 coins. In contrast, Coinbase had 142 markets, Kraken has 284, and Binance has a whopping 1,104.
The company has a unique asset: It owns prime real estate on Google, where it ranks at the top of the page whenever someone searches for “blockchain.”
Messina and Kasselman, masters of messaging and maneuvering, can help turn that visibility into bigger revenues – all while navigating a political landscape that they have helped shape.
They will have a pile of cash to work with, as Blockchain announced last month that it raised $120 million from investors.
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