Former Goldman Sachs Executive Hired by Coinbase

The crypto company is looking to help bridge the gap and ease their project into upcoming regulatory statutes.

By
Chung Yee
on
May 25, 2021
Category:
Blockchain News

The Hire

Coinbase announced that Faryar Shirzad will be appointed to lobby for policy changes in his new role as Chief Policy Officer. Faryar Shirzad was a former co-head of government affairs in Goldman Sachs and a former White House official, having served in various capacities.

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Crypto Faces Intense Scrutiny from the Regulators

Bitcoin and Ethereum have been leading the crypto space in mainstream adoption - Bitcoin as a store of value and Ethereum as the platform for smart contracts. Growth in adoption has also correspondingly witnessed an increased scrutiny from the authorities. The Senate Banking Committee, in its caution to Michael Hsu (the acting comptroller of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency), states that the trust charter given to 3 crypto companies should be reassessed. Citing uncertainty, volatility and influence of certain individuals on the crypto market, the chair of the Senate Banking Committee was of the opinion that unlike traditional banks, the crypto market is harder to regulate.

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Anchorage, Paxos and Protego were granted conditional trust charter by the OCC during the tenure of Brian Brooks, an appointee during the Trump administration. Ripple on the other hand, is facing a legal battle with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in a landmark dispute that will shape the crypto community. In most cases the damage is done the moment the authorities decide on enforcement. XRP fell 25% when the SEC filed a suit against Ripple. 


Lobbying the Biden Administration

Faryar Shirzad’s appointment came in the midst of increased regulatory scrutiny not merely in the United States but globally. He was the deputy National Security Advisor for International Economic Affairs at the White House and had also served as an assistant secretary for import administration in the U.S. Department of Commerce. 

With this appointment, Coinbase hopes to lobby for better and more forward looking policies that will shape the future of the crypto industry.  Coinbase recently joined other major industry players by launching Crypto Council for Innovation (CCI), an alliance formed to collaborate with policymakers and regulators. CCI in its website outlined the purpose of the alliance as quoted:

‘Our view is that the recipe for good policy requires convening regulators and industry to devise solutions together.’

Ripple, in its attempt to influence change within the administration, had hired two lobbying firms. It also hired Mary Jo White, a former chairwoman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), in its defense against the suit filed by the SEC.

Such actions are not surprising as the crypto industry leaders are trying to seek favorable policies by appointing former officials to help bridge the gap. Binance, the top crypto exchange in the world even whilst facing allegations of allowing Americans to trade in derivatives, appointed former Currency Comptroller Brian Brooks to lead Binance U.S.  


A Long Bumpy Road Ahead

The role played by policymakers and regulators is crucial. A crypto friendly policy will encourage minimal interference. Industry players need not fear impositions of crippling regulations. The market is a relatively young one with many new roads to charter. The policymakers and regulators on the other hand are entrusted with the job of protecting the common folks from being victimized through dubious activities. The need to balance this could not come at a more decisive time. The only problem that this industry faces is the pace of innovation and progress that the regulatory framework is ill-equipped to cope with. 

With the appointment of individuals such as Shirzad and Brooks, there is a clear indication that the crypto players are open for joint consultation. This attitude of embracing change through collaboration rather than enforcement is a step in the right direction. 

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Chung Yee

Chung Yee has a legal background and has been involved in research works for the legal and compliance industry. Writing is his passion, centered on topics such as the blockchain and finance.

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