Revolut’s EU banking COO jumps ship to join Headline-backed crypto startup: sources


Adriana Restrepo, the chief operating officer of Revolut’s European banking operations, has left to join a crypto startup founded by the neobank’s former head of crypto Jean Meyer, three people familiar with the matter told The Block. 

Restrepo will fill the role of co-founder alongside Meyer and a former Ledger employee, a person with knowledge of the matter said.

The startup, named Deblock, is a non-custodian crypto fiat banking service, two sources tell The Block, with one adding that it will focus on “off-ramping” for crypto-rich individuals. In other words, it will help them cash out their crypto holdings. 

Deblock plans to launch initially in France, where the startup is aiming to obtain a license that it hopes to passport across the region, said another person — a role that Restrepo has direct experience in. 

Meyer and Deblock declined to comment when reached by The Block. When reached for comment, a Revolut spokesperson said: “We thank Adriana for her hard work and dedication during her time at Revolut, and wish her all the best in the future.”

While Revolut is yet to receive a banking license in its native U.K., last year The Block reported that the neobank had received a full banking license from the European Central Bank through its Lithuanian base. Restrepo was in charge of implementing 10 bank branches across the region, as the neobank used its Lithuanian regulatory approval to passport its license across the bloc, according to her LinkedIn. She started as head of people at Revolut in September 2019. 

Deblock recently closed a seed funding round from venture capital firms such as Hoxton Ventures and Headline, according to three people familiar with the matter. Headline, which previously led a $3 million round into institutional DeFi platform Alloy, was the lead investor in the round, one of the people said.

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The Revolut crypto mafia

Restrepo is the latest in a string of Revolut employees who have left the fintech firm to build out their own crypto companies. Earlier this month, former Revolut chief revenue officer Alan Chang raised $78 million for his web3 energy startup, Tesseract. 

Revolut’s former head of crypto, Soups Ranjan, also recently raised $52 million in a round led by a16z for his fraud detection startup, Sardines — which serves customers such as FTX, Blockchain.com and Brave. Last week, former Revolut employees raised $3.5 million to build a crypto investment app named Solvo, in a round led by Index Ventures. 

This growing class of former Revolut employees diving into web3 comes as the neobank plows ahead with its digital asset push. Last week, it finally secured a place on the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority to operate as a cryptoasset firm.

Revolut recently added 29 tokens to its crypto offerings for U.S. customers with plans to launch staking, withdrawals, and customer deposits. In an interview with The Block in May, founder Nik Storonsky also confirmed that the company aims to launch its own native token along with a non-custodial wallet. 

© 2022 The Block Crypto, Inc. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

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