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Coinbase Hires Facebook, Twitter Vet As Communications VP

Coinbase has hired a new vice president of communications, the cryptocurrency startup announced Monday.

Rachael Horwitz joins the company from Spark Capital, a Coinbase investor. She previously held high-level communications roles at Facebook and Twitter.

“Incredibly grateful and excited to join Coinbase as the company’s Vice President of Communications,” Horwitz wrote on LinkedIn. “An amazing company with a terrific story to tell. Time to get to work.”

Horwitz told Recode that the size and buzz around Coinbase reminded her of Twitter, which she first joined in 2011. She acknowledged that the role could be challenging, however, given that the public – and even some Coinbase users – is largely mystified by cryptocurrency.

“The range of audiences who are probably reading about this stuff, seeing it in their feeds and seeing it in headlines but don’t totally grasp where we’re at in the history of all this,” Horwitz said. “There’s a huge educational challenge.”

Horwitz is the latest executives to join Coinbase’s ranks in recent weeks.

The firm hired Emily Choi as vice president of corporate and business development in March – strongly hinting that the company was eyeing acquisitions – and Eric Scro as vice president of finance the same month. Tina Bhatnagar joined as vice president of operations and technology in January in order to beef up the startup’s customer service resources.

Image (Asiff Hijri, l; Rachael Horwitz, r) via Coinbase.

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$40 Million: Digital Asset Holdings Closes Series B Fundraising

Digital Asset Holdings LLC has raised $40 million in a Series B round, bringing the enterprise blockchain startup’s total funding so far to $110 million.

Jefferson River Capital led the funding round, which included new and previous investors.

Digital Asset, founded by Wall Street veteran Blythe Masters, has also hired Clyde Rodriguez, a former Microsoft executive, as chief information officer and chief technology officer for engineering, a newly created position. Rodriguez will join the firm’s executive committee and report to CEO Masters.

Masters, a former top executive at JPMorgan Chase, was an early proponent of using distributed ledger technology to modernize financial services.

In a press release today, she said:

“The addition of Clyde and the closing of our Series B financing position Digital Asset to capitalize on the enormous opportunities we see.”

New hire Rodriguez is also a former co-CTO of Two Sigma Investments with 20 years of experience in enterprise software and cloud development. At Microsoft he formed and led the Azure cloud networking group as general manager. Earlier, he led Microsoft’s Windows division in creating and delivering the first 64-bit Windows client and server operating systems.

Digital Asset, or DA, as it now calls itself (having dropped the “Holdings” from marketing materials), has kept a relatively low profile recently compared to rivals R3 and Ripple. Far from idle, though, the firm’s been building a distributed ledger settlement platform for the Australian Securities Exchange, one of its investors, since January 2016. However, the exchange has yet not committed to using the system, and has given itself a deadline of December to choose whether it will do so or pursue a more traditional upgrade.

Blythe Masters image via the CoinDesk archive

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is an independent media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. Have breaking news or a story tip to send to our journalists? Contact us at news@coindesk.com.

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Ethereum Startup ConsenSys Hires IBM, Oracle Execs in Expansion Push

New York-based ethereum development startup ConsenSys has revealed a number of new hires, including several IBM employees and the former CEO of South Africa’s central securities depository (CSD).

ConsenSys announced today that John Wolpert, former global blockchain offering director, will work to advance the startup’s product and venture efforts. Monica Singer, who left Strate this summer after working for the CSD since the late 1990s, is set to serve as its “Blockchain Ambassador” with a focus on financial markets.

Wolpert and Singer are among the twenty hires unveiled today. The startup also highlighted the new role for Kavita Gupta, who, as reported last month, is spearheading a $50 million venture fund that ConsenSys plans to use to invest in a range of ethereum-focused startups.

Two other former IBM employees have joined the ConsenSys team. Maggie Love, who previously worked for IBM’s Watson Group, will serve as director of strategic initiatives and business development.  Johnny Howle was a member of IBM’s blockchain team up until August and is now the startup’s product designer for uPort, an ethereum-based identity system.

The list of hires includes those coming from a range of companies and organizations that have focused on blockchain in recent months, including professional services firms Deloitte and EY, database giant Oracle and the Chamber of Digital Commerce trade group, among others. Ryan Selkis, CoinDesk’s former managing director, will serve as the startup’s entrepreneur-in-residence, according to the announcement.

ConsenSys has also beefed up its Australia-based office, naming four new developers to its team.

Image by Michael del Castillo for CoinDesk

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is an independent media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. Have breaking news or a story tip to send to our journalists? Contact us at news@coindesk.com.