Coinbase Global Inc. named a new compliance chief as the cryptocurrency exchange prepares to go public and confronts an evolving regulatory landscape.
Melissa Strait fills the vacancy created by Jeff Horowitz, who last month became compliance chief of digital asset financial services company BitGo Inc.
Ms. Strait, who most recently was global head of financial crimes at financial technology company Stripe Inc., will be responsible for San Francisco-based Coinbase’s global compliance programs, including those related to know-your-customer and anti-money-laundering regulations, the company said in a blog post Wednesday.
The move comes as Coinbase—the largest U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume and one of the largest crypto exchanges in the world—and its competitors navigate a still developing patchwork of regulations governing cryptocurrency and other financial technology.
Elements of the fintech industry also have come under increased scrutiny from regulators following the recent market frenzy that juiced shares of companies such as
Coinbase is gearing up for its stock-market debut. The company, which in December announced its decision to go public, said last month it planned to do so through a direct listing, making it one of the latest companies to forgo the traditional public-offering process.
Founded in 2012, Coinbase has long sought to build itself into a company that would attract mainstream investors and work within the established financial system, unlike some smaller competitors that have seen cryptocurrency platforms as a way to sidestep government oversight.
The company has about 43 million users and is licensed to operate in more than 40 U.S. states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Its platform is accessible in more than 100 countries outside the U.S.
“Implementing industry-leading compliance programs will be critical to earning and maintaining the trust of our retail and institutional customers,” Paul Grewal, Coinbase’s chief legal officer, said in the post announcing Ms. Strait’s appointment. “Melissa’s experience at the very cutting edge of fintech innovation makes her uniquely qualified to navigate the complex web of regulations to which we not only comply with, but are also helping to shape.”
In compliance roles at Stripe, and before that at payments company Square Inc., Ms. Strait oversaw compliance aspects related to those companies’ integration with Coinbase products, the company said.
—Paul Vigna contributed to this article
Write to Jack Hagel at [email protected]
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