Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase nabs hedge fund executive to join it as its CFO

  • Alesia Haas, the chief financial officer of Och-Ziff Capital Management, will join Coinbase as CFO immediately.
  • Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong said in a statement that Haas "brings deep financial services experience to our growing company."
Alesia Haas
Coinbase
Alesia Haas

Cryptocurrency wallet and exchange firm Coinbase has hired a Wall Street executive as its finance chief.

The company said in a blog post on Tuesday that Alesia Haas, the chief financial officer of publicly traded hedge fund Och-Ziff Capital Management, will join it as chief financial officer (CFO) immediately. Haas will help Oz Management with the transition until June 1.

Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong said in a statement that Haas "brings deep financial services experience to our growing company."

"As a fintech (financial technology) company, finance is core to everything that we do," he said. "We plan to continue bringing the best and brightest from both finance and technology companies to help create an open financial system for the world."

Haas was previously the CFO and head of strategy for OneWest Bank and has worked for Merrill Lynch and General Electric in senior finance, investment and strategy roles. Thomas Sipp will take over as Oz Management's CFO as Haas departs the company.

An increasing number of Wall Street bankers have joined cryptocurrency-related start-ups as institutional interest in the space grows. On Monday, crypto wallet maker Blockchain hired a Goldman Sachs executive as its head of institutional sales and strategy. And last week, billionaire Mike Novogratz's merchant bank Galaxy Digital, hired a Goldman executive as chief operating officer.

Haas' addition to Coinbase comes at a critical moment for the cryptocurrency industry. The market saw unprecedented interest last year, with the world's best-known cryptocurrency, bitcoin, surging to a record high near $20,000. But prices have fallen dramatically since then with bitcoin hovering around the $8,000 mark, according to data from CoinDesk, which tracks the price of various digital coins.

Regulators are scrambling to figure out how to rein in speculative investing in the sector, as well as address concerns of fraud and other illegal activities.

Meanwhile Coinbase itself made its largest acquisition on Monday, buying blockchain start-up Earn.com for a reported $100 million. The company, last valued at $1.6 billion, reportedly recorded $1 billion in revenue last year.