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Circle Taps Former US Homeland Security Official as New Legal Chief

Circle Internet Financial has announced the hiring of a former U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official as its chief legal officer.

As reported on the company’s blog, the cryptocurrency startup has welcomed former DHS acting general counsel Gus Coldebella to its legal and senior leadership team. Going forward, Coldebella will oversee all of the firm’s legal, compliance, regulatory and government affairs in this capacity.

He will also be tasked with helping Circle in its global expansion, as the firm works with lawmakers and regulators internationally to begin providing services, Circle co-founders Sean Neville and Jeremy Allaire wrote.

Coldebella comes with not only legal expertise but is an acknowledged authority on cybersecurity policy. While at the DHS, he co-led implementation of the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative under President Bush. That effort was aimed to protect government networks from cyber-attack and to promote cooperation between the public and private sectors, according to the George Washingto University where he is a senior fellow.

Prior to joining Circle, Coldebella was a principal at law firm Fish & Richardson, where he helped firms address cyber security planning and incident response, government and internal investigations, and more.

Circle, which offers a variety of crypto services including an investment app, closed a Bitmain-led $110 million Series E fundraising back in May – a figure that valued the startup at nearly $3 billion. Part of that funding was said to be directed into hiring new staff at the firm.

At the time, Circle also revealed a plan to bolster its products and services by launching a “U.S. dollar coin,” a regulated blockchain asset that would be backed by fiat currency.

A previous $50 million round in 2015 notably saw the firm receive backing from investment bank Goldman Sachs.

Bitcoin and gavel image via Shutterstock

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Former Estonian Prime Minister Becomes Blockchain Startup Advisor

A former Estonian prime minister has signed on as an advisor to a blockchain startup that wants to encourage people to exercise more.

Taavi Rõivas, who ran the Estonian government as prime minister from 2014 to 2016 and currently serves as a member of the country’s parliament, has joined cryptocurrency startup Lympo as chairman of its supervisory board. Lympo aims to incentive exercise and active lifestyles through its LYM token, the company announced in a press release.

Rõivas confirmed the move on Twitter, saying that he was “excited to help one of the most promising Baltic startups to grow and pursue the mission of motivating people to excercise more and better.”

Lympo says it tracks and aggregates users’ health and medical information, issuing tokens in order to reward individuals that complete various physical activities. These activities may be announced or potentially sponsored by companies working with Lympo, according to its whitepaper.

In turn, the companies may receive parts or all of the aggregated data from participants, though the whitepaper emphasizes that users maintain ownership over their data, and certain forms of sharing would be restricted under the E.U.’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

While Lympo originally built its LYM token on the ethereum protocol, the startup intends to move its token ecosystem to another blockchain – most likely NEO, CEO Ada Jonuse said in an FAQ published last month.

Taavi Rõivas image via Sven Tupits/Wikimedia Commons

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Coinbase Taps Regulation Veteran for First-Ever Crypto Compliance Chief

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has announced the appointment of its first-ever chief compliance officer as it moves to become a licensed broker-dealer in the U.S.

According to a blog post published on Tuesday, the company is tapping the experience of Jeff Horowitz, who joins the firm following decades working for both banks and regulatory bodies.

Horowitz has spent the last 12 years leading the compliance team at Pershing, a BNY Mellon company and also one of the largest providers of brokerage custody. Before that, he worked at Citigroup and Goldman Sachs, as well as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, a self-regulatory organization. All those roles saw Horowitz managing anti-money laundering and other compliance programs.

During his career, Horowitz has also taken efforts to shape financial regulation in the U.S via his involvement with industry associations such as the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

Asiff Hirji, Coinbase’s president and chief operating officer, wrote in the blog post:

“His experience managing matters related to broker-dealer regulation, asset custodianship, and AML programs makes him a uniquely qualified leader for our compliance team.”

The appointment comes soon after Coinbase started offering a crypto custody service aimed at institutional investors and is taking steps to become a regulated broker-dealer in the U.S.

The company said earlier this month that FINRA had already approved its acquisition of three licensed broker-dealers, inching the firm a step closer to potentially listing crypto tokens deemed as securities.

Coinbase image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.