The venture capital firm, known as a16z, has landed former federal prosecutor Michele Korver to coordinate regulatory issues for its crypto team.
Korver has over 25 years of experience working for the U.S. government and law enforcement, as digital currency adviser at the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. Prior to that, she served the Justice Department’s Criminal Division as digital currency counsel.
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According to Anthony Albanese from a16z’s crypto arm, Korver will handle the relationship between a16z’s crypto companies and government regulators, and endeavor to influence regulations that favor innovation but root out criminals.
“I’ve devoted much of my career to helping policymakers understand the power and potential of this technology. I’m now excited to join a16z crypto and work directly with web3 projects to help them thrive in a rapidly developing regulatory environment,” Korver said.
Crypto firms on poaching spree
The appointment of Korver continues a hiring blitz by cryptocurrency companies of former traditional finance executives and senior government officials. Hirings in 2021 revolved around regulation or expansion into new territories. Binance appointed Greg Monahan in August 2021, who was formerly the leader of cybercrime investigations at the Internal Revenue Service, to oversee anti-money laundering enforcement.
Bittrex Global snapped up Caleb Barker, a former government investigations associate with full-service global law firm Squire Patton Boggs, to serve as an associate general counsel.
And Robinhood Markets hired Benjamin Melnicki for their crypto division in September 2021 to comply with industry regulations in light of regulators’ scrutiny of digital assets. Melnicki previously worked at Grayscale, overseeing compliance, and before that he led regulatory affairs at Ripple Labs.
Blockchain.com beefed up its regulatory arsenal last Nov by hiring C.J. Rinaldi to oversee a team of 60 compliance staff. Rinaldi was formerly senior counsel in the enforcement division of the Securities and Exchanges Commission and held senior positions in traditional financial institutions before that.
In the same month, Bittrex Global hired Shearman & Sterling senior associate Oliver Linch to be general counsel. Linch previously worked as part of the law firm’s financial institutions advisory and legal practice in London and New York.
And Bitstamp hired Robert Zagotta, a former executive from the financial exchange and markets operator Chicago Mercantile Exchange, as CEO of its U.S. arm.
President Biden signs executive order
The context of a16z’s latest hire comes a week after President Joe Biden ratified an executive order compelling federal agencies to create studies on issues potentially affecting the future regulation of cryptocurrencies.
Korver replaced Katie Haun, a former general partner and crypto investment leader, who departed the venture capital giant to begin her own business. Haun was a prosecutor who served the U.S. Justice Department for over a decade, where one of her roles was its first digital currency coordinator.
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