Coinbase, the cryptocurrency exchange operator, announced late last week that it has appointed Asiff Hirji as its president and chief operating officer.
In a company blog post, Coinbase said Asiff joins the company from Andreessen Horowitz, the venture capital firm where he was focused on growing a number of the VC’s portfolio companies. “Coinbase is moving into an exciting phase of our journey. Asiff’s knowledge of traditional financial services, as well as his deep technical expertise, makes him the perfect person to guide our operations as we grow into new markets and products,” said Brian Armstrong, CEO and co-founder of Coinbase.
According to the company, with Asiff, Coinbase gets a unique mix of skills and experience. For starters, the executive is seasoned in running large investment platforms and brokerages, previously serving as president, COO and CIO of TD Ameritrade. He has also held senior leadership and governance roles at TPG Capital, Saxo Bank, Hewlett Packard and Bain Capital.
Coinbase said that Asiff’s blend of technical know-how, business acumen and corporate growth experience is what the company needs to increase its position as a leading digital currency company. “Coinbase is uniquely positioned like no other company to capitalize on the burgeoning crypto-economy. Its breadth of offerings, global footprint and unique capabilities mean that it will continue to be the first place that retail and institutional investors look when they invest in cryptocurrencies,” said Hirji in the blog post. “I’m very excited to be a part of the company and look forward to helping realize its full potential.”
Hirji’s appointment comes as Coinbase is exploding in growth, as the price of bitcoin continues to surge. With cryptocurrency gaining more legitimacy in the marketplace, scores of investors are trying to get into the market.
When CME Group announced it would launch a bitcoin futures exchange, people reacted by opening up Coinbase accounts to the tune of 100,000. Last month, CNBC, citing Alistair Milne, co-founder and chief investment officer of the Altana Digital Currency Fund, reported that the huge jump was due to CME Group’s entrance into the cryptocurrency market. As the biggest bitcoin exchange in the U.S., Coinbase – which has 11.9 million users – has become a very popular way to purchase bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. CME’s entry into the market not only boosts credibility, but also enables bigger investors – who are otherwise restricted from directly buying bitcoin – to ride the digital currency trend.