US Treasury Secretary Appoints former Coinbase Chief Legal Officer as the First Deputy Comptroller

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While US-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase lost its Chief Legal Officer, a pro crypto official is joining the government.

Brian P. Brooks will be the next Chief Operating Officer effective April 1, 2020, replacing Morris Morgan, announced the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) on Monday.

“Brian brings an extensive career of legal, banking, and financial innovation expertise to the agency,” said Comptroller of the Currency Joseph M. Otting. “He is a visionary thinker with a passion for service and a deep understanding of how the financial services industry supports our nation’s prosperity. We are fortunate to attract such an experienced and talented individual to join our federal agency.”

Brooks will also be the First Deputy Comptroller, a designation made by Secretary of the Treasury Steven T. Mnuchin under his authority who called him “a strong leader with extensive experience in the financial services sector.”

Mnuchin said he “look forward to working with him to ensure the stability of our financial system and its ability to foster greater economic growth for the benefit of all Americans.”

Brooks joined Coinbase in September 2018 and just after one and a half years, he has joined OCC. Prior to starting at OCC, Brooks will step down from the board of directors of Avant, where he served since 2017 and Fannie Mae, where he has served since March 2019. Brooks has a bachelor’s degree in government from Harvard University and a law degree from the University of Chicago.

“Morris Morgan has dedicated his career to bettering this agency and promoting the safety and soundness of the federal banking system,” Comptroller Otting said. “We will miss his voice and leadership on the agency’s Executive Committee and wish him the very best.”

Blessing in Disguise?

Analyst Mati Greenspan called this exodus from crypto industry, “Yet another case of Coronavirus kicking blockchain in the teeth” because “Talent drain is not usually a good thing” which is not the worst of crypto market’s issues at the moment when Bitcoin is hovering around $5,000 and crypto market lost over $90 billion in the past month.

Meanwhile, some crypto enthusiasts see it more of a blessing in disguise as the government gets a candidate well versed in crypto.

“In the midst of a public health and financial crisis, we are comforted to know that Brian Brooks will serve in this critical role overseeing the nation’s banking system. We’re always proud of Coinbase alumni who go on to serve in government bringing a crypto-friendly perspective with them,” a Coinbase spokesperson told Cointelegraph.

Earlier this month, the Department of Treasury met with the prominent figures from the crypto industry to discuss the regulatory challenges the sector faces where Mnuchin said, “We must ensure that we balance innovation with the need to protect our national security and maintain the integrity of our financial system.”

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